The Federal High Court on Thursday warned the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over the imprisonment proceedings initiated against him by the Delta-Central Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.
Omo-Agege had initiated the committal proceedings praying that Saraki be sent to prison as punishment for flouting the May 10 judgment of the court which ordered him (Omo-Agege) to be reinstated from illegal suspension and be paid all his accrued benefits for the period of the voided suspension.
The hearing of the committal proceedings was scheduled for Thursday but the alleged contemnor and his lawyers were absent from court.
Ruling on a request by Omo-Agege’s lawyer, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), to have the committal application heard despite the absence of the defence, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said he was more inclined to giving the Senate President another chance to “remedy the alleged wrong” or appear in court to defend himself.
Justice Dimgba noted that the application was truly “ripe for hearing” as argued by Izinyon, as the court’s records showed that Saraki had been served with the motion on notice and hearing notice for the Thursday’s proceedings via a newspaper publication of September 25, 2018, as earlier ordered by the court.
The judge, however, said he would give Saraki another chance to remedy the alleged wrong or appear in court to defend himself.
He also directed Izinyon to write the Senate President and the legal department of the Senate informing them of the adjournment of the proceedings till October 18.
The court said in its ruling on Thursday, “Upon this motion on notice dated and filed on August 15, 2018, praying for the committal of the Senate President to prison for contempt of court coming up before this honourable court today (Thursday) for hearing; and after hearing Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN) with Hanatu Abdulkarim, Friday Izinyon, Alex Izinyon II, J.A Gesa, for the judgment/creditor/applicant urging that the court should proceed with the hearing;
“It is hereby ordered as follows:
“That indeed from the records of the court, the Senate President, the alleged contemnor, was served with the motion and hearing notice by advertisement as ordered by the court on pages 35 – 36 of The Nation Newspaper of September 25, 2018; this motion is therefore ripe for hearing.
“That in the interest of justice, and to give the alleged contemnor another opportunity to remedy the alleged wrong or even to appear to defend himself, and as a demonstration of the court’s commitment for justice, the court directs the applicant/judgment/creditor’s counsel to write to the alleged contemnor and the legal department of the Senate informing them of the next adjourned date.”
The judge adjourned till October 18 for “definite hearing” of the committal application.
Omo-Agege had initiated the committal proceedings against Saraki for allegedly flouting a May 10, 2018 judgment of the court.
The May 10 judgment ordered the immediate reinstatement of Omo-Agege from an alleged illegal suspension by the Senate and ordered that the senator should be paid his accrued entitlements for the period he was shut out of his legislative duties.