Embattled Senator Elisha Abbo entered a not guilty plea after the Nigeria Police Force arraigned him before a Magistrates’ Court in Zuba, Abuja, on Monday. The Police filed criminal charges against Abbo for assaulting a woman at an adult sex toy shop in Abuja, where he had reportedly gone to make some purchases. Senator Abbo however, pleaded not-guilty when the charge was read to him.
It was gathered that police detectives had established a prima-facie case against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker representing Adamawa North Senatorial District in the National Assembly; based on footage of a video that captured the assault on a nursing mother, identified simply as Barbara.
Evidence from the video showed Senator Abbo repeatedly hitting the woman on the face for her intervention in an argument between him and the shop attendant. As at the time when the video went viral, the owner of the store was reportedly out of Abuja. Several controversies had already trailed the incident in a media trial spin off. However, the admission by the senator in a press statement he issued last week was also part of the evidence against him.
Senator’s Abbo arraignment came a day after the National Council for Women Society (NCWS), Abuja Chapter, on Sunday rejected his apology. The Abuja NCWS chairperson, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, advocated for stiffer punishment for Abbo to serve as deterrent to others who assault women in workplace, shops or markets. ” We reject his apology and we will do everything within the ambit of law to demand justice for our fellow woman who was assaulted,” she said.
“I am here with my executives and members of NCWS FCT chapter for a peaceful demonstration on what an elected senator, who is supposed to serve us did to one of our women. “We want to stop the barbaric habits on women either at home, in the markets, shops, workplaces and everywhere in the country. We are women of integrity and mothers, we are not animals and we are saying no to violence against all women and the assault should stop with immediate effect,” she said.
The Acting Secretary, FCT Social Development Secretariat (SDS), Mrs. Safiya Umar, said violence against women is an international offence as clearly stipulated in the UN Convention and Beijing Charter.
She disclosed that the secretariat had sent an invitation to Abbo for him to come and explain what transpired. According to her, the secretariat is very passionate about anything that affects women and children in the FCT.
The Director of Gender Development Department, Mrs. Hart Agnes, said the department would not relent in doing everything humanly possible to stop violence against women, children and the Physically Challenge People in the FCT. “It is our mandate to remain focus, to fight this monster that is bedeviling our society. It is so strange and unbecoming to us of a human being treating a fellow human being in such a disgraceful manner.
“The video we saw is mind boggling because some of us couldn’t sleep after watching the video. We are overwhelmed with issues of domestic violence in highly places, people you least expected will demonstrate that level of venom on a fellow human being,” Agnes said.