A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking the sack of Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege over alleged perjury.
On Thursday, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, held the case was a gross abuse of court process having been filed in several courts. He held that the case was laid to rest when Justice Othman Musa of the FCT High Court, delivered a judgment in the matter and awarded a N1.2 million cost against the plaintiff. The money must be paid to each of the four respondents.
The Incorporated Trustees of Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative had on May 19, approached the court, asking for an order for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return issued to Omo-Agege.
Defendants are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2020 filed by their lawyer, Edward Omaga, the group also prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Omo-Agege from occupying the office of the senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District.
They claimed that Omo-Agege was not a competent, fit and proper person to occupy the office due to alleged conviction hanging over his neck.
The suit was based on a judgment of the Department of the State Bar Court in Los Angeles, California, USA, delivered on November 30, 1995, whereupon Omo-Agege was allegedly sentenced to jail.
HE WAS ALSO “SUSPENDED” FROM LAW PRACTICE FOR TWO YEARS FOR AN ALLEGED FELONY INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE, FORGERY OF CHEQUES AMOUNTING TO $890 WITH WHICH HE INTENDED TO DEFRAUD THE BANK OF AMERICA, AHINED MEHONE AND ELPERT DEFRIETAS IN VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 470.
The plaintiff prayed the court for interpretation of Section 68 of the 1999 Constitution; to determine whether by the combined interpretation of Section 68(1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, the judgment of the Department of the State Bar Court sitting in Los Angeles, California, involved moral turpitude.
The court prayed to award N500 million damages against the clerk of the senate for accepting to declare Omo-Agege deputy senate president after his nomination and election on June 11, 2019.
At the June 16 hearing, Alex Izinyon, SAN, representing Omo-Agege; Chikosolu Ojukwu representing the clerk and the APC; as Taminu Inuwa, SAN, for INEC, denied the alleged conviction and urged the court to dismiss the suit. They all insisted that the appellate court in California in the US had cleared Omo-Agege of any wrongdoing in December 1996.
“Acquittal means legal certification that the accused is not guilty of the offence,” Izinyon had argued.
Justice Mohammed upheld the preliminary objection filed by the respondents, noting the plaintiff ought to have withdrawn the suit on realising that the FCT High Court, with coordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High Court, already decided the issue in the suit. It is manifestly clear from the judgment alluded to that, that there was no conviction as alleged.
The plaintiff is bound by the judgment of my brother, Justice Othman Musa of the FCT High Court delivered on January 29 wherein it was declared that the defendant was not convicted.
Mohammed explain that by refusing to withdraw the case while 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.