The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has evaded the trouble of being subjected to trial for contempt as he conceded to the request for the payment of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s withheld entitlements.
The information that Saraki has authorised the payment of Omo-Agege’s entitlements was made public on Thursday by his (Omo-Agege’s) lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN).
Izinyon made the disclosure at the resumption of proceedings in the contempt case initiated against Saraki and the Senate by Omo-Agege, before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Omo-Agege (representing Delta Central) initiated the contempt proceedings over allegation that Saraki and the Senate refused to obey a portion of the court’s earlier judgment ordering that he (Omo-Agege), who was earlier suspended, be paid his entitlements.
The Saraki-led Sanate had, earlier this year, suspended Omo-Agege, which suspension the court, in a May 10, 2018 judgement, set aside, ordered his reinstatement and the payment of all his accrued benefits for the period of the suspension.
Omo-Agege later returned to the court with a contempt case against Saraki and the Senate, claiming that while they reinstated him, Saraki and the Senate withheld his entitlements in disobedience to the court’s judgment.
On the last adjourned date, October 11 this year, Izinyon prayed the court to hear his client’s committal application against Saraki and the Senate, who were absent in court.
But instead, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said he would give Saraki another chance to either “remedy the alleged wrong” or appear in court to defend himself, and adjourned to October 18.
On Thursday, when the case was called, Saraki was also absent. But he and the Senate were represented by a lawyer, Efut Okoi.
Izinyon told the court that his client was paid his entitlements on October 12, 2018, barely 24 hours after the court elected to accord Saraki another chance to either right the alleged wrong or attend court to enter defence in the contempt case.
Izinyon said after the last proceedings, he ensure that Saraki was served with the court order of October 11, along with a letter from his chambers informing him of Thursday’s date.
He added that on the next day, on October 12, a Special Assistants to Saraki informed him that his client has nine cheques waiting for him.
Izinyon said he received the cheques on behalf of his client and acknowledged receipt.
He said Omo-Agege acknowledged that there was a shortfall of N6m when the cheques were handed to him, Izinyon said when notified, the Senate President’s aide acknowledged that the Omo-Agege’s claim was correct.
He added that the Saraki’s aide admitted that the shortfall was from an error in computation. He said the error was promptly rectified and the N6m paid to his client.
Izinyon said, with the development, there was unnecessary to proceed with the contempt case.
He applied to withdraw the contempt case, and application Okoi did not object to, following which Justice Dimgba struck the case out.