Mace Theft: Nigerian Senators Disagree Over Court Ruling
Two Nigerian senators on Wednesday engaged in a war of words over a court order.
Isah Misau (PDP, Bauchi Central) and Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) disagreed on the order barring the Senate from considering a report.
Mr Misau accused Mr Omo-Agege of abusing the judicial process and the generosity of the leadership of the Senate with some of his actions, which, he said, seek to bring down the institution.
His statement was a reaction to a court order restraining the leadership of the National Assembly and eight other parties from considering the report of the Senate’s ad-hoc committee. The committee was set up to probe the April 18, 2018, invasion of the Senate by some yet-to-be identified hoodlums.
Mr Misau said Mr Omo-Agege’s objective was to prevent the report of the committee from being considered.
He said Mr Omo-Agege’s action has shown the reason why the Senate should actually go ahead and consider the report and act on it, no matter the odds.
In April 2018, some hoodlums invaded the Senate chamber during plenary, carting away the mace which serves as a symbol of authority in the legislature.
Mr Omo-Agege is believed to have led the hoodlums into the chamber. One of the hoodlums went straight for the mace, grabbed it and made for the exit.
The Delta lawmaker has however, denied any wrongdoing.
A joint ad-hoc committee was constituted to investigate the invasion of the Senate chamber.
The committee recommended the immediate suspension of Ovie Omo-Agege, the Delta Central senator, for 180 legislative days.
It also called for the immediate prosecution of Mr Omo-Agege and six other suspects on charges of treasonable felony, assault occasioning harm, conspiracy to steal and actual theft of the mace.
The committee also resolved that Mr Omo-Agege should be prosecuted for incitement and breach of peace inside the Senate chamber.
Mr Omo-Agege, however, challenged the legitimacy of the ad-hoc committee in court.
An Abuja high court on Tuesday restrained the national assembly leadership and eight others from considering the report of the ad-hoc committee, Daily Trust newspaper reported.
The court said the restraining order shall remain pending the determination of a suit filed by Mr Omo-Agege.
Mr Misau, in his statement, said the court cannot stop the legislature from the performance of its constitutional duties.
“Omo-Agege has dared the Senate. Now, he should face the music. I blame the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki for delaying on the consideration of the report.
“The Eighth Senate is winding down and the general view of members is that before we leave, all outstanding reports should be considered and acted upon. If Omo-Agege does not have any hidden agenda, why is he seeking to stop the consideration of the report. After all, he was given fair hearing to state his own case before the panel?
“He is probably running helter-skelter now because he wants to become Deputy Senate President and he knows that if we adopt the recommendation of the committee, the outcome will affect his ambition. This is the reason why people should always consider the future implications of their actions,” he said.
He urged the Senate leadership to move swiftly to vacate the injunction granted to Omo-Agege by the Bwari court and ensure nothing stops the Senate from getting to the roots of that invasion by hoodlums.
Hand of Esau
In his reaction, Mr Omo-Agege described the allegations as the handiwork of Mr Saraki. He said Mr Misau’s statement is not actually his “intellectual property” but that of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
“It is cowardly for Saraki to have Sen Misau sign his (Saraki’s) press release. Saraki needs to brush up on his knowledge of the constitution and the law.
“No where in the Constitution is he granted the right to investigate crimes. He should be counseled that the ancillary powers derivable from section 88 of the 1999 constitution must be excercised in furtherance of law making and not witch-hunting.
“Only the Nigeria police has the powers to investigate crimes. Omo-Agege has not dared the Senate and would never do so. He has instead dared Saraki to continue with his impunity and bigotry at his own peril,” Mr Omo-Agege said.
The Delta lawmaker mocked Mr Saraki for being voted out of office by the electorate in Kwara.
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