A suspended lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), has declared that the appeal filed by the Senate against the Federal High Court’s judgment nullifying his suspension will not stop him from resuming his legislative duties.
He made this declaration to Punch Newspaper where he said the Senate and its President, Bukola Saraki, have only applied for a stay of execution at the Court of Appeal which has not been granted.
Last week, the senate announced it filed a notice of appeal and a stay of execution on a High Court judgement nullifying the suspension of Mr Omo-Agege.
Olu Onemola, an aide to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, made this known Thursday evening.
A stay of execution is a court order to temporarily suspend the execution of a court judgement or another court order.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court gave the ruling nullifying the suspension on Thursday.
Mr Dimgba said the Senate’s decision regarding the suspension, as well as the pattern adopted by the National Assembly, was constitutionally defective.
He stated that the Senate has no power to suspend a senator for more than 14 days.
Mr Omo-Agege was suspended for 90 days by the Senate after he accused his colleagues of working against President Muhammadu Buhari by amending the Electoral Act.
The Senate said the suspension was not because of Mr Omo-Agege’s comments on the election re-order but for his move of approaching the court over the matter.
Reacting to the Senate’s appeal, Mr Omo-Agege pointed out that the lower court made a declaratory judgment which had an immediate effect.
He also accused Mr Saraki of seeking the relief for a stay of execution from a court of law which he had allegedly ignored and gone ahead to approve his suspension. He said the appeal would not stop his resumption.
“The judgment that was delivered by the court says that the court was nullifying my suspension ‘with immediate effect.’ If they go ahead and apply for a stay of execution, no court has granted them that. Until that stay is granted, the ‘nullification’ is with immediate effect. They have applied to have a stay but that stay has not been granted.
“Two, the order of the court is a declaratory order. A declaratory order is not ‘ stayable’ in law. The order that the court made, nullifying my suspension with immediate effect, is a declaratory order and it is not ‘ stayable ‘ in law. In any event that they apply for a stay, unless and until the court grants that stay, the judgement of the lower court is to take an immediate effect.
“Three, the Senate President is in contempt of court because my action was pending in court but he showed a total disregard for the court and proceeded to suspend me while my case was in court. That by itself is contempt. The relief he is seeking from the court now – stay of execution – is an equitable relief. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. You cannot be in contempt of the court and ask the same court to grant you an equitable relief. His hands in law are soiled and dirty. Therefore, he is not entitled to an equitable relief in court,” he said.
He further explained that “based on his knowledge of the law”, that purported suspension by the Senate has been vacated with immediate effect.
“They have the right to appeal and they have already filed it. But they are not entitled to the equitable relief of stay of the court’s judgement.”
When contacted, both the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, and the Vice-Chairman, Ben Murray-Bruce, said they did not have all the details of the legal battle.
Mr Abdullahi had on Friday said the lawmakers would discuss Mr Omo-Agege’s matter at the plenary on Tuesday. He said he could not confirm if the senator could resume or not.