By Ovasa Ogaga,
Federal High Court, Abuja Division on Friday gave a seven-day ultimatum to the principal officers of the Senate and other parties to respond to a suit challenging its investigation of the senator representing the Delta central senatorial district, Ovie Omo-Agege.
Recall that Omo-Agege was investigated and subsequently suspended for accusing his colleagues of working against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The court presided by Nnamdi Dimbga made the ruling after declaring that the time for the defence, including Senate President Bukola Saraki, to file their response to the motion brought by Omo-Agege had been abridged.
Omo-Agege had approached the court to stop the Nigerian Senate from implementing the report of the Senate’s’s ethics and privileges committee which investigated comments made by him in February.
Omo-Agege had alleged during a sitting in February that the proposed electoral amendment by the National Assembly was a plot against President Muhammadu Buhari.
After making the statement, Omo-Agege later apologised to his colleagues.
Following an observation by Kogi State senator, Dino Melaye, the matter was handed over to the Senate’s’s committee on ethics and privileges for investigation.
But after the committee began its investigation, Mr Omo-Agege approached the court, seeking an order preventing the Senate from taking any action from the findings made by the committee.
Omo-Agege also asked the committee to suspend its investigations pending the determination of the matter in court.
The committee has, however, submitted its findings to the Senate, which resulted in the suspension of Omo-Agege on Thursday for 90 days.
During its previous hearing, the court refused an ex-parte motion filed by Omo-Agege and asked the respondents in the suit to appear before it on Friday for hearing on the motion.
Dimgba also said the court would ensure accelerated hearing on the matter.
The respondents were all absent during Friday’s hearing.
Dimbga, therefore, ruled that considering his earlier decision to ensure accelerated hearing into the application, the time for the respondents to file their replies was over.
He ordered the respondents to file their responses, within seven days from Friday, April, 13.
According to the order, the date for the submission of respondents’ briefs elapses April 20. The plaintiff is then expected to file his reply to the respondents’ briefs within three working days from his date of receipt.
The respondents in the suit are the Senate, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The case was adjourned till April 27 for hearing on the application.