By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has fixed April 30 for definite hearing of a suit Senator Ovie Omo-Agege filed against the Senate and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki was also cited as a defendant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018.
Senator Omo-Agege who is representing Delta Central Senatorial district is praying the court to quash his suspension from the Senate.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had earlier declined an ex-parte the plaintiff filed for the court to issue prohibitive injunction against the Senate.
The trial judge however directed counsel to the plaintiff, Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, to serve copies of the relevant processes on all the defendants to enable them to appear and show cause why reliefs Omo-Agege is seeking from the court should not be granted.
The court gave the 1st and 2nd respondents (Senate and Saraki) 7 days to show cause.
In addition, the court ordered accelerated hearing of the matter, and adjourned to April 27, for definite hearing.
Meanwhile, the Senate and Saraki, through their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, filed memorandum of conditional appearance in the matter, even as they challenged the order that abridged time for hearing of the suit.
Though the two defendants insisted that Omo-Agege had yet to serve his originating summons to them, they however declared intention to challenge the competence of the suit.
Specifically, Omo-Agege is among other things, praying the court for, “A declaration that the 1st and 2nd defendants’ referral of the plaintiff to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for trial for expressing his opinion on the purport of a Section of the Electoral Act N0. 6, 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 is an act calculated to interfere with or likely to constitute a breach of the plaintiff’s fundamental human right to freedom of expression without interference as guaranteed by Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 [as amended] and Article 9(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 LFN, 2004.
“A declaration that the description of the plaintiff’s expression of his opinion on the purport of a Section of the Electoral Act No.6, 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 in the 1st defendant’s Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 20th February, 2018 as “….. “malicious, unfounded and aimed at smearing the reputation of the Senate as an Institution…” makes the allegation against the plaintiff [which was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethic, Privileges and Public Petitions] offence[s] under the provisions of Section 24(a) and or 24(c) of the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act Cap L12 LFN 2004 and therefore cognizable only by court of competent jurisdiction as, provided by Section 36(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 [as amended].
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents, privies, officers or otherwise howsoever from interfering with the plaintiffs rights and or privileges as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or and preventing him from entering or remaining within the precinct or Chamber of the Senate or National Assembly or attempting to forcibly remove him from the chamber or precinct of the National Assembly or in any way impeding or undermining the plaintiff’s ability to function as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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