13 April 2018

Nigeria: Senate Suspends Ovie Omo-Agege for 90 Legislative Days

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian Senate

The Senate has suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) for 90 legislative days.

Omo-Agege was suspended yesterday during plenary over his remarks that the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act, which changes the sequence of elections set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate Committee on Ethics had recommended that the senator be suspended for 181 legislative days but the chamber reduced it to 90 legislative days.

The committee expressed disappointment that after Omo-Agege had admitted guilt on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by apologising to the leadership and the entire Senate, he changed his mind and took the Senate President and the Senate to court.

His suspension, according to the Senate, is to serve as deterrent to other senators who might contemplate taking the Senate to court over its power to regulate or determine its internal matters.

Saraki, who stated that the issue of preserving the integrity of this institution is paramount, said: "I think in this chamber, if we want to talk about who has the right to say he is chairman of a parliamentary support group for Mr. President both by action and by what we have done, I think that I have the right to lead that -- more than anyone else here."

Meanwhile, a group of Urhobo political stakeholders has filed a suit against the Senate over the suspension of Omo-Agege, saying the legislative body cannot deny the Urhobo representation.

The interlocutory injunction filed on behalf of the Urhobo ethnic group by eight Urhobo stakeholders at a Federal High Court, Abuja, aimed to stop the Senate from suspending their representative elected to represent them.

The plaintiffs in their affidavit of claim averred to by M. G. Duku and C.E. Umweni of M.G. Duku and Associates, Abuja, are seeking a declaration that the rights of the people of Delta Central Senatorial District to an unfettered representation in the legislative business of the Senate by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege constitutionally guaranteed for a tenure of four years cannot be abridged, suspended, abrogated and or vitiated, except as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution (As amended), among others.

In another development, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has urged the National Assembly to over-ride President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to guarantee free, fair and credible electoral system in the country.

Wike said the excuse that the order of elections proposed in the bill contravenes the discretionary powers of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was baseless.

The governor, who spoke at the 2018 yearly Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Legal Practice Conference in Port Harcourt yesterday, tasked Nigerian legal practitioners to rise up and insist on the relevance of the amended Electoral Act 2010.

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