Embattled Senator Elisha Abbo Tuesday appeared before a Senate ad-hoc committee set up to investigate his actions in a viral footage where he assaulted a nursing mother in a sex toy shop in Abuja, where he had reportedly gone to make some purchases.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu, a member of the committee, asked Abbo to swear an oath before saying anything. But he bluntly refused; saying the case was in court. “This matter is in court. I cannot be talking in front of cameras when the matter is already in court. That’s subjudice,” Abbo said.
“Distinguished, you just joined us. We have a procedure and we are also under law. You don’t come in here and dictate to us what should be done,” Mrs. Tinubu told the opposition senator, adding: “You are on the other side now. You don’t tell us what to do…because we can suspend you,” she added.
An angry Abbo interjected “I will not sit here and listen to you threaten me with suspension. I am a senator like you. You cannot threaten me with suspension.”
While the argument continued between the embattled Senator Abbo and members of the committees, the Chairman of the committee which has up till next week to submit its report, Senator Egwu, acceded to Abbo’s request and asked journalists to leave for the meeting to continue behind closed doors.
Prior to this, the senator was arraigned by the Nigeria Police Force at a Magistrate Court, where he pleaded not guilty of the offence which he had earlier acknowledged and sought forgiveness in a press statement. The court adjourned the case and granted him bail of N5 million.
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 the woman, 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. 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 apologizing for the incident was part of the evidence against him.
Meanwhile, the National Council for Women Society (NCWS), Abuja Chapter, rejected Abbo’s 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.