By Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday dismissed a suit seeking to stop the execution of judgment which nullified the Senate’s suspension of the senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Ovie Omo-Agege.
Justice Dimgba, had on May 10, while delivering judgment on a fundamental rights suit brought by Senator Omo-Agege, nullified his suspension by the Senate and ordered the payment of all his outstanding salaries and allowances within the suspension period.
Justice Dimgba, though noted that the Senate has powers and was right to initiative disciplinary measures against Omo-Agege for acts considered at variance to the Senate rules, his subsequent suspension was wrong because it was not done in accordance with the rule of law.
In addition, the court held that Omo-Agege’s suspension for a period of 90 legislative days was contrary to the Senate rules, which prescribed 14 days and consequently declared it a nullity.
Justice Dimgba, who stated that his decision was based on the omnibus prayers of the plaintiff, however, denied Omo-Agege reliefs 1-7 prayed for in his suit.
As a result of this, the Senate said it would appeal the judgment and approached the court with a motion seeking to stay Justice Dimgba’s judgment on the matter.
However, delivering ruling on the application argued on behalf of the Senate and Senate President by Mahmud Mogaji (SAN), Justice Dimgba dismissed the application on grounds that it was misdirected and lacking in merit.
According to him, the said application seeking to stay judgment on the nullification of the suspension order, did not target the May 10 judgment.
The judge noted that an application must align with a judgment, and not outside it, adding that the instant application did not target the judgment that vacated the suspension order, rather on other decision which he declined the reliefs sought by the plaintiff, Omo-Agege.
“An application must target decision reached by the court. This application is targeted at different decision reached by this court. I hereby dismiss the application for lack of merit,” the court held.
Dimgba recalled that he had dismissed, among other reliefs sought by the plaintiff, that the Senate should not punish him for any offence.
The judge said that if an application is appealing against reliefs he refused to grant is of no significant to the vacation of the suspension order.
“The judgment of 10th of May declined some of the reliefs of the plaintiff. I have not seen reason of this application. I hereby dismiss it for lacking in merit,” he held.
Justice Dimgba on May 10 nullified the suspension of Omo-Agege from the Senate for 90 legislative days.
Omo-Agege had headed to the court to seek redress following his suspension against the Senate (1st defendant), the Senate President (2nd defendant), and the Attorney General of the Federation (3rd).
By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, Omo-Agege had challenged his suspension from the Senate, saying it was illegal.
Dimgba, delivering judgment on the suit, held that the suspension of the senator during the pendency of the suit was unconstitutional and an affront on the judiciary.
The court noted that it was wrong for the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to suspend Omo-Agege for going to court after he had apologised over his comments against the Senate.
Justice Dimgba held that the decision of the Senate to suspend Omo-Agege for instituting the suit was a clear breach of Section 4(8) and 6(6b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.