There are strong indications of a looming showdown at the Senate on Tuesday as the lawmaker representing the Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, says he will attend the plenary.
The senator stated this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, while reacting to the nullification of his suspension by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
But it was learnt that the Senate had yet to inform security men to allow the Delta Central senator access to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Saturday PUNCH had exclusively reported on April 21 that the Senate had ordered security agents to prevent Omo-Agege from entering its chamber.
But the senator said his planned resumption was not based on court nullifying his suspension, because he never believed that a legislature could suspend a member.
Asked if he would resume legislative duties on Tuesday, Omo-Agege said, “Absolutely. I have already told you that I reserve the right to come to sitting anytime. I am coming not because of this judgment but because I have always maintained that they have no right to suspend.
“I did not just take that position. I took that position based on the extant laws which have been pronounced upon by various courts, including the Court of Appeal in Jos concerning the Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly. That is a pronouncement that can be extended to everyone. I did not even need to go to court to seek a re-validation.
“Be that as it may, I reserve the right to show up anytime to attend plenary, to represent my people, and that right of representation cannot be tampered with by anyone irrespective of the provision.”
Omo-Agege pointed out that only his constituents have the power to remove him from the senatorial seat he is currently occupying.
He said, “I am grateful to God and I give God all the glory. I must tell you that this verdict did not come to me as a surprise because I have always known the law. The law is very clear that no legislature has the powers to suspend anybody (member) for one day. That is the position I have always taken. It was on the basis of that understanding that I went to plenary on the 18th of April.
“From day one, I considered this suspension, unlawful and unconstitutional. What the court has just done is to re-validate that position. Only my constituents – the Urhobo people – have the right to determine whether or not I can be in the Senate; no one else, no matter how highly placed.”
It was, however, gathered the lawmaker might not be allowed to gain access to the Senate.
A source in the Senate, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, stated, “We have yet to inform the security agents and he will not be allowed to enter the senate until the judgment is discussed at the plenary.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, had on Thursday told one of our correspondents that the lawmakers had yet to be formally informed about the judgment.
We’ll deliberate on Omo-Agege’s case on Tuesday –Senate
But when contacted on Friday, Sabi-Abdullahi, said the lawmakers would discuss Omo-Agege’s matter at the plenary on Tuesday. He said he could not confirm if the senator could resume or not.
Sabi-Abdullahi said, “There is an appeal against the judgment, according to media reports. But I cannot be speaking for the Senate and reply on what was reported, I must get the facts from the relevant people within the institution. Now, I am not in Abuja. I’ve been asked and I said no, until we resume. When we resume on Tuesday, whatever facts are there, we are going to get the facts and we will be able to know what is happening.”
It was learnt that the Senate had filed for a stay of execution of the judgment and that it had no plan to recall Omo-Agege
Senate files stay of judgment execution
Counsel for the Senate and its President, Mr. Mahmud Magaji (SAN), told one of our correspondents on Friday that he had filed along with his notice of appeal, an application for stay of execution of the judgment reinstating Senator Omo-Agege.
“We filed an application for stay of execution of the judgment alongside our notice of appeal,” Magaji said.
An aide to the Senate President, Bankole Omisore, had on Thursday indicated that the Senate would appeal the judgment.
Omo-Agege had, one week after his suspension, attended Senate plenary. The lawmaker’s attendance had occurred same time when suspected thugs invaded the Senate chamber while plenary was ongoing and made away with the mace.
Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, had disclosed that the sergeants-at-arms and security personnel had been ordered to block Omo-Agege whenever he tries to enter the chamber.
The Senate had on April 12, 2018, suspended Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days for dragging the chamber to court over the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 which seeks to reshuffle the sequence of polls during a general election.
However, the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday nullified the 90-day suspension imposed by the Senate on Omo-Agege. Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in the judgment, said the order nullifying the suspension was “with immediate effect.”
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