Members of the Urhobo ethnic group in Delta State 0n Friday dragged the Nigerian Senate to Court following the suspension of the suspension of the Senator representing Delta central senatorial district, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days.
Sen. Omo-Agege was suspended on Thursday by the Senate, following remarks that he made while addressing a press conference, that section 25 of the proposed Electoral Act 2010, is targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
“For some of you who are familiar with what transpired in the House of Reps, only 36 members were on the floor when this so-called amendment to section 25 of the Electoral Act was introduced. The position we took is that 36 people cannot determine the destiny of 360 people in the House (of Reps), which is now being carried over to 109 in the Senate. The least we are owed is for this so-called amendment to be deliberated upon and our rule is clear.”
“We have 59 senators who are opposed to the inclusion of section 25 of the Electoral Act. If that division was allowed today, 59 senators would have voted to delete that purported amendment to section 25.
“You don’t make a law targeted at one person. The perception out there is that this Section 25 was included to target Mr President.” Parrot Nigeria had previously reported Omo Agege as saying.
Following a recommendation by Kogi senator Dino Melaye, the matter was referred to the Senate’s ethics and privileges committee which recommended a suspension of Mr. Omo-Agege for 181.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, however, pleaded for a downward review of the duration, asking that the suspension be reduced to 90 days (six months), from the proposed 181 days.
In a reaction to the suspension, a group of Nigerians from Mr Omo-Agege’s constituency have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to demand the retraction of Mr Omo-Agege’s suspension.
The plaintiffs, namely: Alfred Okaka, Chris Agaga, Kingsley Okrikpo, Harrison Akpojarho, Manny Edu, Lyndon Ugbome, Moses Adegor and Godspower Emowhomuere, are asking the court to declare that the said suspension will amount to a deprivation of the rights of their people from due representation in the Senate.
They are of the opinion that the tenure of the senator: “cannot be abridged, diminuted, suspended, abrogated and or vitiated, except as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution (as amended.)”.
The defendants in the suit are: Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, the Senate, Clerk of the Senate, the Department of State Services, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector- General of Police and Senator Omo-Agege.
Omo Agege is one of the pro-Buhari Senators who are opposed to the proposed amendment of the electoral act which is specifically aimed at reordering the sequence of the 2019 general elections as against the timetable that was earlier put out by INEC.
Parrot Nigeria had previously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act.
Buhari in a letter to the leadership of the National Assembly said he was withholding his assent to the new amendment largely because, The amendment to the sequence of the election may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organize, undertake and supervise all elections.
The amendment which seeks to reorganize the sequence of the election as scheduled by INEC is proposing that the amendment of the National Assembly election will come first, followed by governorship and state houses of assembly and finally the Presidential election which will now come last.