A coalition of nine Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Monday, Jan. 13, accused the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, of perjury and, demanded that he resigns his position in the Senate.
The coalition alleged that the Deputy Senate President was convicted in the United States of America, USA., by the State Bar Court of the State of California, Los Angeles in 1996.
The convener of Coalition of Civil Society and Youth Groups in Nigeria and National Coordinator, Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative, Mr Solomon Adodo, at a news conference in Abuja, faulted Omo-Agege, a senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District for allegedly refusing to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Nigerian Senate of his conviction in the USA.
While insisting that such willful silence contravenes the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and rules of the Senate, the group which also called for a fresh prosecution against Omo-Agege, threatened to stage a protest at the National Assembly if Omo-Agege fails to resign and the Delta Central Senatorial District seat declared vacant within the next 72 hours.
“It should further be brought to our memories that sometime around April 18, 2018, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege who was on suspension at the time, sneaked in through one of the glass barricades within the National Assembly complex and had the legislative mace seized by thugs allegedly under his instruction. This act in itself cast odium and deep negative aspersions on the image and integrity of the 8th Assembly,” the group said.
The group which made reference to the snatching of the legislative mace by thugs under Omo-Agege’s instruction in the 8th Assembly raised concerns that Omo-Agege’s emergence as Deputy President of the Senate was a mockery of the 9th Assembly.
Adodo said: “Incontrovertible documentary evidences 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 offense 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.
“Following a lengthy prosecution of the said allegations levelled against Augustine O. Omo-Agege, he was convicted of violating California Penal code section 470 and was also subsequently suspended from the practice of law pending final disposition of the proceeding.
“As true Guardians of Democracy and firm advocates of transparency in governance, we are deeply perturbed at the fact that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege concealed all these information from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) thus he was allowed to participate in the general elections (contrary to Constitutional provisions) that produced him as Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District.
“In violation of the Senate Rules he also concealed the said information from the Nigerian Senate thereby paving the way for his emergence as Deputy President of the Senate. All these have resulted in the denigration of the image and esteem of the Nigerian Senate before the international body of legislators. We can confidently state howbeit with patriotic pains and disenchantment that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege can not confidently and freely lead a Team of legislators to Capitol Hill for any meeting with the US Senate owing to the weight of conviction against him in the United States of America.
“Let it be noted that all of these crimes alleged to have been committed by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege cannot be wished away and the Senate will only be playing the Ostrich by not taking the necessary actions against the ethical misconduct of this prominent legislator.
“The said Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege should be prevailed upon by the Nigerian Senate to resign from Office and his Senatorial Seat declared vacant. In the event that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege hesitates in resigning from Office, impeachment proceedings should be immediately initiated against him in order to redeem the battered image of the Nigerian Senate.
“The law enforcement Agency should immediately initiate fresh prosecution against Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege for the grievous offence of perjury and denigration of the Nigerian Constitution. In the event that immediate actions are not taken within 72 hours of this notice, we shall be left with no other option than to mobilize thousands of Civil Society and Youth Groups to occupy the National Assembly until she is purged of corrupt elements. We shall maintain eternal vigilance and remain in defense of the Nigerian Democratic system.”
But reacting to the allegations, the Deputy Senate President dismissed the allegation, saying the allegation which had surfaced shortly after his emergency as senator both in the 8th and 9th Senate, had brought treated by the court.
Speaking through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr Yomi Odunuga, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said he has been travelling freely to and within the United States as he was cleared of all charges in the said case and was never a convict in the USA as being alleged.
While accusing the group of attempting to drag his name into mud, he noted that 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.
He said: “Over the past few days, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege visited the United States of America and Canada for personal and official reasons respectively, holding aloft the beacon of progressive ideology and an agenda for improving Nigeria’s image internationally.
“We make haste to dismiss the entire allegation as not only unfounded and illogical; it is the residue of the warped imaginations and misleading rumour peddled without conviction some years back.
“While the distinguished Senator remains completely unperturbed by the nattering nabobs of negativity and their faceless sponsors, it remains clear that this is another feeble round of mere shadow- chasing that ultimately amounts to nothing.”
He further made reference to an earlier publicised response to same allegation on September 25, 2018, which states that: “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.”