Mace theft: Omo-Agege attacks Reps, Saraki over suspension call

The lawmaker representing the Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has carpeted the House of Representatives for approving his suspension over alleged involvement in the invasion of the Senate chamber and mace snatching.
Omo-Agege described the resolution for his suspension by the House as an act of lawlessness.

The senator stated this in a statement he personally signed and sent to The PUNCH, entitled, ‘My Advice to the House of Representatives on its Purported Resolution to Suspend Me: Eat It or Better Still, Shove It.’
The Senate had on April 12, 2018, suspended Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days for dragging the chamber to court over the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 which seeks to reshuffle the sequence of polls during general elections.

Omo-Agege had, however, dismissed the suspension and attended plenary on April 18. The lawmaker’s emergence at the chamber had occurred at the same time when suspected thugs invaded the Senate chamber while plenary was ongoing and made away with the mace.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, while inaugurating a joint National Assembly investigative panel which had the Senate’s Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah and Rep. Betty Apiafa as co-chairmen, had noted that there were reports that those who attacked the Senate were led by a serving senator.

The House had last week considered the report by the panel, which indicted Omo-Agege, and approved the recommendation that the senator be suspended for 180 legislative days.
Na’Allah has yet to lay the report before the Senate.

Omo-Agege, in his reaction, dismissed the resolution by the House and accused Saraki of being a dictator.

The statement read in part, “Without much ado, I state without ‘equivocation’ whatsoever that the purported House resolution is just an act of utter lawlessness by one ordinary, first among equals in the Senate, who prides himself as a most intolerant dictator. The Urhobo people that I represent with honour in the Senate do not respect oppressors or dictators.

Omo-Agege described himself as “a good student of Constitutional Law, saying he was “unlike the one who knows nothing about the law yet misuses our legislative processes and instruments to violently violate my rights as a Senator of the Federal Republic duly elected by my people to represent them in the Red Chamber just like him.”
He stated, “Not being a member of the House of Representatives, I cannot be subjected to any form of investigation or disciplinary action by the House.”

The lawmaker pointed out that with Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution, the National Assembly had no power whatsoever to investigate a crime.

He said, “The removal of the Senate’s mace was described in the Senate as a ‘heinous crime.’ For this reason and much more, it is a matter now under an active criminal investigation by the police. Usurping the constitutional functions of the police, Hon. Betty Apafia ignored this fact and elected to submit a so-called report on this incident and inflicted incalculable harm on my person thereby. There must be consequences for this.”
Omo-Agege noted that there were several judicial decisions that legislative houses could not suspend their members, while matters of his suspension by the Senate and National Assembly’s investigation of the mace theft were before the court, making the action by the House subjudice.

He said, “It is elementary that parties are not supposed to take steps to foist fait accompli on a court that is already seized of issues between such parties. But some would rather turn the Senate into a Banana Republic by arrogating to themselves powers they do not have and acting with disgusting lawlessness and brazenness.
“The irony is that some of these same people were allowed to enjoy the full benevolence that our legal system provides by remaining ‘unsuspended’ or ‘unremoved’ from their legislative positions when they had challenges with the law. Even much more ironical is that these same intolerant dictators often dare to unjustly accuse our dear President Muhammadu Buhari of some fairy dictatorship.”

The lawmaker added, “In all, let me say that if they ever assumed that I will be a victim of the travesty of justice, violation of our Constitution, and untrammelled impunity being piped from the Senate by a dictator, they are dead wrong. My people and I will lose nothing as a result of this sickening dictatorship in the Senate. This is a fight the Senate dictator and drummer must lose. He has bitten more than he can chew.”

Reacting, Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, said senators who believed in the Senate President’s leadership would respond to Omo-Agege.
Olaniyonu said, “Ordinarily, I don’t reply senators out of respect, for the fact that they are my principal’s colleagues. That is why you have not seen me replying all the diatribe from Senators Abdullahi Adamu, Senator Ali Ndume and him. At the right time, their colleagues will reply to them. It is out of deliberate respect for them that I, as the spokesman for the Senate President, will not be seen to be exchanging hot words with his colleagues. That is one of the ethics of the Office of the President of the Senate under Senator Bukola Saraki.”
Also responding to Omo-Agege, a senator loyal to Saraki dismissed the Parliamentary Support Group in the Senate, which has Adamu, Ndume and Omo-Agege as part of its membership, as a group of aggrieved lawmakers.
The senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, alleged that the lawmakers had been attacking Saraki for personal reasons.