Federal high court in Abuja has nullified the senate’s suspension of Ovie Omo-Agege, a Delta central senator.
Nigeria senate had on April 13 suspended the senator for 90 legislative days over his comment that the proposed re-ordering of the general election was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
The court has now ruled that the suspension as unconstitutional.
Nnamdi Dimgba, the judge, said while the national assembly had the power to discipline its erring members, the premise on which Omo-Agege’s suspension was anchored is illegal.
Although the court refused to grant any of the seven prayers sought by the senator, it held that the suspension could not hold on grounds of the ”violence” it did the constitution.
Dimgba said from the wording of the report of the senate’s ethics and privileges committee which recommended Omo-Agege’s suspension, he was punished for filing a suit against the senate after apologising over the allegation levelled against him.
”Access to court is a fundamental right in the constitution which cannot be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ,” Dimgba ruled.
He said the senate’s decision to punish Omo-Agege constituted an affront on the judiciary.
The judge said the senate could only have suspended him for only a period of 14 days as prescribed in the senate rules.
He ruled that the principle of natural justice was breached by the senate’s ethics and privileges committee by allowing Dino Melaye, who was the complainant, to be involved in the committee that considered the issue.
The judge, therefore, nullified Omo-Agege’s suspension ”with immediate effect”.
He also ordered that the senator should be paid all his allowances and salaries for the period he was illegally suspended.