Sagay, Falana, Ahamba, Others Rap Senate Over Omo-Agege’s Suspension

“That suspension is sheer lawlessness. It shows they have no regard for the rule of law. They tend to operate as if they are a world onto themselves. They wanted all along to be acting as lawmakers as well as executive arm of government. Now they are trying to take over judiciary work which is the only arm of government with the duty to award punishment to offenders. It is the characteristics of the Senate to resort to brashness and lawlessness. They are a law onto themselves,’’ – Prof Itse Sagay (SAN)

“The problem of some arms of government is that they want to be law onto themselves. The Senate must be warned that they are dealing with the right of component parts of this country. In that sense they must be careful not to deny any part of the country the right of representation in the upper chamber. “I do know that if a lawmaker does something amounting to misconduct, he or she can be disciplined to maintain integrity and good personality of the institution, but to take it to the extent of denying some people representation for six months or more for holding a legislative view contrary to the opinion of Senate Leadership does not amount to misconduct that equally can attract six months suspension. If they don’t interfere with the rights of others, court needs not interfere with its internal affairs. But there is no way the Senate Rule or bye-law can override the provisions of the 1999 Constitution,’’ -Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN)

“The purported suspension of Senator Omo-Agege is the height of the serial illegality. In Hon. Dino Melaye v. House of Representatives (unreported), the Federal High Court declared the indefinite suspension illegal and unconstitutional on the ground that a legislator could not be suspended for more than 14 days, but in the House of Assembly v. Hon Danna, the Court of Appeal held that a legislative house is not competent to suspend a member even for a single day as it is a violation of the democratic rights of members of his/her constituency. “In view of the settled state of the law as expatiated upon in the aforementioned cases, the Senate is advised to reverse its illegal decisions and quickly return to the path of constitutionalism in the interest of lasting democracy in the country. However, if the Senate remains intransigent, the Executive branch of the government should adopt decisive measures to terminate the rein of impunity in the National Assembly,” – Femi Falana (SAN)

“This is sheer gangster action the Senate is exhibiting. You can’t collect some members to start resolving or voting for the suspension of a colleague who were voted by his constituency for equal representation in the same chamber. Only by the pronouncement of the court or recall by the constituency he is representing that can oust him from that chamber even for a minute,’’ – Alasa Ismail

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