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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Court Dismiss Suit Seeking Omo-Agege’s Sacking Over US Conviction

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a suit seeking an order directing Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to vacate his seat as a senator and Deputy Senate President.
The suit filed by a civil society group, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, is anchored on the grounds that Omo - Agege allegedly has a record of previous criminal convictions in the United States of America.
But delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Ahmed Mohammed dismissed the suit on the grounds that it constituted an abuse of court process.
In dismissing the suit, the judge upheld the preliminary objection filed by four respondents, comprising, Omo-Agege, the Clerk of the National Assembly, his party, the All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Justice Mohammed noted that the plaintiff ought to have immediately withdrawn the suit on realising that the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, a court with coordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High Court, had already decided the issue in the suit.
“It is manifestly clear from the judgment alluded to that there was no conviction as alleged ,” Justice Mohammed held.
The judge held that contrary to the contention of the plaintiff, it was bound by the FCT High Court judgment despite not being a party to the suit in which the said judgment was delivered.
He held, “In the light of the above, the plaintiff is bound by the judgment of my brother, Justice O.A. Musa of the FCT High Court delivered on January 29, 2020, wherein it was declared that the defendant was not convicted.
“It is precisely the intention of this suit to relitigate the issue already laid to rest by the judgment of the FCT High Court.”
He added that by refusing to take an immediate step of withdrawing the suit on being aware of the FCT High Court judgment, the plaintiff “lends credence to the contention of the counsel for the first defendant that the suit was filed in obvious attempt to annoy and irritate the first defendant.”
He added that he must, therefore, “truncate it at this point by dismissing without the need to consider other issues”.
He dismissed the suit with a punitive cost of N1.2m awarded against the plaintiff and its lawyer, Mr Edward Omaga.
The judge specifically ordered that the plaintiff and its lawyer must pay the sum of N300,000 to each of the four respondents – Omo - Agege, the Clerk of the National Assembly, APC , and INEC.

Punch

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