…….As court throws out suit seeking his removal
An FCT High Court sitting in Bwari has dismissed a suit seeking to remove the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-agege from office.
Delivering judgement on Wednesday, Justice Othman Musa dismissed the suit on the grounds that contrary to the allegation, Omo-Agege was never convicted for any crime in the United States of America.
The suit was instituted by a Non-Governmental Organisation, the Incorporated Trustees of Patriotic Youth Organization of Nigeria.
Omo-Agege, the Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) were named as first, second and third respondents.
Justice Musa dismissed all the reliefs sought by the claimant on the grounds that the deputy senate president was never a convict or convicted by the court in America.
Answering one of the questions of the claimant, the court held that Omo-Agege was not under any obligation to inform INEC whether he was under a sentence or had been convicted since there has never been a conviction.
The judge maintained that from the judgment of the American court exhibited by Omo-Agege, the court dismissed that charge against him and that did not translate to an indictment or a conviction.
Moreover, the judge held that a judicial commission of inquiry was not equal to a court of law and that it was only a competent court of law that could convict.
Although Omo-Agege had asked the claimant to pay him N100million as damages, the court awarded N1 million in his favour.
The group had asked the court for some reliefs including an order of court declaring that Omo-Agege committed perjury by lying to INEC.
“A declaration that Omo-Agege gave and/or supplied false information to the INEC in his INEC Forms CF001 relating to whether he has been under a sentence of imprisonment or conviction for offences involving dishonesty and/or fraud.
“This is by his deliberate failure to disclose that he was/is under a sentence of imprisonment or conviction for criminal offence of felony involving moral turpitude by violating Section 470 of the California Penal Code.
“A declaration that the act and/or conduct of Omo-Agege in giving and/or supplying false information to the commission in his INEC Forms CF001 by stating under oath that he was/is not under a sentence of imprisonment or conviction for offence involving dishonesty and/or fraud whereas he had been convicted of criminal offence of felony amounted to giving false information to INEC as well as an act of perjury.
“A declaration that giving and/or supplying false information under oath in his INEC Forms CF001 INEC, the Omo-Agege has acted in contravention of breached and/or violated the mandatory provisions of Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act and therefore not qualified to be nominated and/or elected into the Senate of the National Assembly.
The claimant also wanted the court to declare that the Attorney-General had the mandatory statutory and prosecutorial obligation to undertake criminal proceedings for the prosecution of Omo-Agege for offences of perjury or giving of false information following his conviction for criminal offence of felony in the United States of America.
The group further asked for order of injunction restraining Omo-Agege by himself, agents, servants, privies or howsoever described from further parading or in any other manner whatsoever holding out himself as been qualified to contest for election into the senate.
They also asked for an order of mandatory injunction directing INEC by itself, agents, servants, privies or howsoever described to cancel and/or withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Omo-Agege forthwith.
Speaking to Newsmen, counsel to Omo-Agege, Mr Alex Iziyon, SAN, who described the suit as jaundiced and irritating said that his client had always maintained his innocence.
He said his client would accept the N1 million damage awarded him by the court.
For his part, counsel to the group, Mr Anderson Achilike said that he would consult with his client before taking the next step. (NAN)