ABUJA- The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege by the Senate.
"Access to court is a fundamental right in the Constitution, which can not be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ", the judge ruled.
Justice Nnamdi Dimbga while delivering judgment in the suit filed by Omo-Agege challenging his suspension from the Senate, held that the reason given by the Senate and the Senate President for suspending Omo-Agege was unconstitutional.
He noted that "it is not a victory against the Senate, as there is no war against that great institution". Ovie Omo Agege can punish erring members of the Senate.
He appreciated his constituents, friends and family for and assured everyone that he will remain "absolutely committed to their fine values of justice, honour and humility in service".
He also ordered that the senator be paid all his allowances and salaries for the period he was illegally suspended.
But Omo-Agege opposed this and accused the upper chamber of working against the President.
The Senate said the suspension was not because of Mr Omo-Agege's comments on the election re-oreder but for his move of approaching the court over the matter. It had been suspended for 90 legislative days.
He ruled that the principle of natural justice was breached by the senate's ethics and privileges committee by allowing Dino Melaye, who was the complainant, to be involved in the committee that considered the issue.
Omo-Agege was suspended on April 13 over his remarks that the planned amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act was targeted at President.
Justice Dimgba said the fact that only the Attorney General of the Federation has the power to initiate criminal proceeding against such offender did not bar the Senate from deploying its internal disciplinary measures against erring lawmaker.
He argued that the plaintiff was entitled to freedom of expression under the Nigerian constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.