The Senate has said the alleged conviction of the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, by a U.S court, is not an issue of the Senate.
The spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki, said this while responding to questions from journalists on Tuesday.
The lawmaker was asked if the Senate will probe the allegations against Mr Omo-Agege – or apply the same delayed action in the case of assault by Adamawa senator, Elisha Abbo.
In his response, the Senate spokesperson said the issue of Mr Omo-Agege is just as may affect any other person. He said he knew nothing about the case and only read about it on the internet.
“…I am speaking here for the ninth Senate, I am not speaking for American court or judiciary as an arm of government in Nigeria. The issue of Elisha Abbo is similar but entirely different from the issue of the Deputy Senate President. We are senators and lawmakers, so we should be seen working within the purview of the law of the land.
“The issue of Elisha Abbo, somebody stood up and raised a matter of public interest, we discussed it and we set up a committee. But because that matter is in the court of law, we said we should keep it in abeyance. There is nothing wrong with that.“The issue of DSP is not even in Nigeria. I don’t know anything about it. We are senators, if somebody petitions the DSP to the committee on petition, I want to assure you, we will look into it. For now, it is not an issue of the Senate,” he said.
A group had alleged that Mr Omo-Agege was convicted in the United States of America by the State Bar Court of the State of California, Los Angeles in 1996.
The group led by Solomon Adodo, faulted Mr Omo-Agege for allegedly refusing to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Senate of his conviction in the USA.
“Incontrovertible documentary evidence available to us reveal that sometime in April 22, 1996, Augustine O. Omo-Agege believed to be one and the same Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was ordered to be suspended from the practice of Law following his conviction for violating California Penal Code section 470, a felony criminal offence involving moral turpitude, under the authority of subdivision (a) of rule 951, California Rules of Court.
“Our scrupulous findings reveal that the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was admitted into the State Bar of California on December 14, 1992. The records reveal that on or about March 7, 1992, the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was alleged to have committed the crime of forgery of Check-in violation of Penal code section 470, a felony. Furthermore, on or about March 7, 1993 the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was alleged to have committed the crime of perjury-application for Driver’s license in the County of Los Angeles in violation of Penal code section 118, a felony,” the group said.
It also asked the lawmaker to resign and called for a fresh prosecution against him.
The Deputy Senate President has, however, dismissed the allegation. He said he was alleged to have broken the law in California, and tried but in the end, he was found not guilty.
Mr Omo-Agege also accused the group of attempting to drag his name in the mud. He said the call for his resignation over a “spurious and malicious allegation of conviction by a Californian court, was the latest act of political jobbers who were seeking to mislead gullible people with lies and propaganda.”
“The fact is, at a point in his brilliant and bright legal career in California, USA, Senator Omo-Agege then a young attorney, was alleged to have broken the law in California but in the end, he was found not guilty.
“Accordingly, he was declared innocent by the honourable Lance A. Ito who presided over the popular O.J. Simpson murder trial case and G. Magnera of the Court of California, County of Los Angeles. Omo-Agege had to fight hard for his innocence and God vindicated him against the expectations of evil men like the most sadistic blackmailer in the world.
“Today, he remains an active member in good standing at the State of California Bar Association – an impossibility if a valid and subsisting conviction were hanging on him. These are verifiable public facts and truths,” a statement from his media aide, Yomi Odunuga, read.