•Senate, Saraki, lawmaker know fate May 10
Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 10, to deliver judgment in a suit filed by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is challenging his suspension by the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), listed as a defendant in the suit, urged the court to declare all the actions leading to Omo-Agege’s suspension as unconstitutional and unlawful.
The AGF, who was represented in court by the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata, said he took the position in his constitutional powers as a defender and protector of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“Let me explain to the court why I have decided to take the position I took in this case. By the powers conferred on me, under section 150 of the constitution, I have the constitutional responsibility as a defender and protector of the constitution.
“Any question relating to the interpretation of the constitution, the AGF is duty bound by the constitution to react to it,” Akpata submitted.
Before fixing the date, the court had earlier rejected applications by the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, to participate in the suit; as defendants.
Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central Senatorial District in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, is seeking an order of the court to restrain senate from denying him access into the Senate chamber and or preventing him from carrying out his legitimate duty as a senator, in the National Assembly.
Those sued as defendants in the the originating summons filed by his lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN), are the Senate, the Senate president and the AGF.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in his ruling on the joinder application moved by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), on their behalf, held that they were not necessary parties to suit as the matter before the court can be effectively decided without their participation.
Izinyon and Akpata vehemently opposed the application on the grounds that the applicants were not necessary parties to the suit.
They argued that as agents of the Senate by virtue of their membership of the committee, they only acted on behalf of their principal, the Senate, which is already a defendant in the case.
After pronouncing on the application for joinder, the court took arguments for and against the preliminary objections filed by the Senate and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter, as well as the substantive suit.
In his submission on the preliminary objection, Izinyon urged the court to dismiss it as issues raised in the substantive suit borders on breach of rights to fair hearing which, he argued, cannot be waved by any party.
On his part, Akpata, who aligned himself with submission made by Izinyon, equally asked the court to dismiss the objections and assume jurisdiction to hear the case.
Meanwhile, the court has given the Senate 72 hours to file its reply on point of law, on the issues raised against its preliminary objection by the plaintiff counsel and the AGF.