â€¢ Your suspension of senator is illegal, AGF replies â€¢Court fixes May 10 for judgment
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Senate and its President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday told the Federal High Court in Abuja to resist the temptation of being dragged into the internal affairs of the legislature, particularly as regards a suit brought before itÂ by the senator representing Delta Central senatorial district in the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
The senator had dragged the upper legislative chamber before the court, alleging that his suspension by the Senate was unlawful and should be reversed by the court.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), who is also a defendant in the suit filed byÂ Omo-Agege, submittedÂ that the action of the Senate that led to Omo-Agegeâ€™s suspension was unlawful and unconstitutional.
Following his suspension last month by the Senate, Omo-Agege had in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, prayed the court for an order restraining the Senate from denying him access into the Senate chamber and preventing him from carrying out his legitimate duty as a senator in the National Assembly.
Those joined as respondents are the Senate, Â Senate president and the AGF.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), representing the Senate, attacked the jurisdiction of the court and urged it to dismiss the suit.
He said what led to Omo-Agegeâ€™s suspension was the internal affairs of the Senate and that the court should not heed the temptation of delving into the internal affairs of the Senate.
But counsel to the applicant, Alex Izinyon (SAN), said the suit, as constituted, is proper and competent.
He submitted that the Supreme Court has held that one can use any mode in challenging an infringement of fundamental human rights.
While referring the court to the case of Senator Ali Ndume, Izinyon said the suspension of his client is not an internal affairs of the Senate as the rights of his client was violated.
Counsel to the AGF and Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, in his submissions, agreed with the plaintiff that the suit be allowed as the mode of commencement did not violate any rule.
He said the constitution vested on the AGF to defend the constitution as the Chief Law Officer and added that,â€œ All the actions of the Senate, leading to the suspension of the plaintiff in this matter are unlawful and unconstitutional and we urge the court to so hold.â€
After hearing the submissions of parties, the trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, slated May 10, 2018, to deliver judgment and directed 1st and 2nd respondents to file response to the plaintiffâ€™s originating summons within 72 hours.
Before fixing the date, the court had earlier rejected the applications by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee onÂ Ethics, Privileges and Public PetitionsÂ to participate in the suit as defendants.
Justice Dimgba, in his ruling on the joinder application moved by Magaji on their behalf, held that they were not necessary parties to the suit as the matter before the court can be effectively decided without their participation.