Court dismisses suit against Omo-Agege over alleged conviction

Ovie Omo-agege

The Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday dismissed the suit seeking the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return of Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

Ruling, Justice Ahmed Mohammed described the case as an abuse of court process as it had been laid to rest after Justice Othman Musa of the FCT High Court, Bwari, delivered a judgement in the matter.

The judge awarded a N300,000 cost against the plaintiff which must be paid to each of the four respondents.

A group, the incorporated Trustees of Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative, had on May 19, approached the court, asking to order the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return issued to Omo-Agege.

Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2020 filed by its lawyer, Edward Omaga, the group also prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Omo-Agege from occupying the office of senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District and deputy senate president.

The group said its suit was based on the grounds that Omo-Agege was not a competent, fit and proper person to occupy such an office considering the conviction hanging over his neck.

According to the group, this is as per the judgement of the hearing of the Department of the State Bar Court sitting in Los Angeles, California, USA, delivered on November 30, 1995, whereupon Omo-Agege was sentenced to jail and suspended from law practice for two years for 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 judgement of the hearing of the Department of the State Bar Court sitting in Los Angeles, California, involving moral turpitude.

The plaintiff also prayed the court 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 hearing of the suit on June 16, the respondents’ lawyers, Alex Izinyon, representing Omo-Agege, Chikosolu Ojukwu representing the Clerk of the Senate and the APC, as well as Taminu Inuwa, for INEC, denied the alleged conviction, urged the court to dismiss the suit and award substantial cost against the plaintiff.

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 had, in the last sitting, fixed June 25 for judgment after taking arguments from parties in the case.