Senate wades into assault of lady by member

The Senate yesterday constituted a seven-man ad hoc committee to investigate alleged assault of a woman at a toy shop in Abuja by Senator Elisha Abbo.

The Adamawa North senator, said to be the youngest member of the Upper Chamber, was observed in a 10-minute video footage slapping a lady shop keeper.

The offence of the lady appeared to be that she cautioned the senator not to attack the shop owner who Abbo claimed insulted him.

The senator claimed that the shop owner tagged him a drunk.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who set up the committee, named Ebonyi North Senator Samuel Egwu as its chairman.

Other members of the committee include Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Stella Oduah, Dauda Jika, Danladi Sankara and Mohammed Sani.

The constitution of the probe committee followed a Point of Order by Kaduna central Senator Uba Sani.

Sani told his colleagues that the image of the Senate had been dented by the video clip, which went viral, about the senator slapping a lady repeatedly.

The Senate, he cautioned, must take decisive measures to redeem its battered image.

He said: “As soon as the story was published online, I started receiving calls from Nigeria and abroad. A decisive action should be taken to show to the world that we respect the right of other Nigerians, no matter how lowly placed they may be.

“The Senate needs to do something. Our image is at stake. If we do this, we will be able to redeem the image of the Senate. Mr. President, we must act right away without delay.”

Lawan cautioned against drawing conclusions before investigation of the allegation.

“Let us not conclude yet. Whatever we saw still remains an allegation. It has not been proven. We need to give everyone involved, including our colleague, a fair hearing. We should be guided. Both sides must have fair hearing,” he said.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti South) also cautioned against hasty conclusions.

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He said: “It was extremely tragic news. But we cannot be sensational about this. Nigerians must see us as people who are ready to lead by example. We need to give our colleague the benefits of the doubt.

“What happened is a violation of sections 33, 34 and 35. We need to set up an ad hoc committee to give everyone a sense of fair hearing. But we must always work to protect the rights of Nigerians.”

Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe also condemned the alleged assault.

He said: “In our rule book, Section 56 spells out how we should behave. We are 109 privileged Nigerians. It comes with responsibilities too. You have already said we cannot apportion judgment on who is right or wrong.

“I want us to suspend judgment until we can investigate this matter further. That will be in the interest of justice to us and to Nigerians who look up to us.”

Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi said details of what happened should be known to enable the Senate to take definite decision.

He added: “The issues have become very clear. We cannot go to judgment without knowing the full details. There must be fair hearing. We cannot take any action without investigation. An ad hoc committee should be set up.”

Lawan said: “This morning (yesterday), I received a lot of calls locally and internationally. We are going to be very responsible; we cannot condone any act of violence. If there is any act of violence against us, we cannot keep mute.

“We are privileged and we can’t let the people down. We will set up an ad hoc committee. It will be an opportunity for the senator to state his side. The lady allegedly assaulted will also have the chance of stating her side.”

Also, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the assault on a female attendant at an Abuja sex toy shop, Bibra, by Senator Ishaku Abbo.

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In a statement yesterday by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition said it detested and completely condemned the senator’s action.

The statement said: “Our party is also shocked that the harmless victim of the unprovoked assault is said to be a nursing mother, who ought to be protected.

“Though this is a personal conduct of an individual, which has no bearing with the culture of our party, the PDP, however, holds that no responsible person will condone such an attitude.

“In the light of this, the National Working Committee (NWC) has commenced investigation into the matter and summons Senator Elisha Abbo in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP and code of conduct of our members.

“In the same vein, the party has taken note of the immediate action taken by the Senate.

“The PDP, at all levels of engagement, is reputed for her utmost respect and commitment towards the rights, safety and wellbeing of our citizens, particularly our women and cannot tolerate any callous assault on any Nigerian.

“The PDP, therefore, assures Nigerians that it will always stand on the side of justice and will never spare a thought in taking action on any of its members found wanting, particularly those elected or appointed into public offices.”

Some Nigerians yesterday protested the assault of a woman by Senator Elisha Abbo.

They urged the police to prosecute him.

The protesters took their action to the Force Headquarters in Abuja, saying the senator must be investigated and recalled by his constituency.

Notable faces among the protesters included the convener of Concerned Nigerian group, Deji Adeyanju; Hajia Aisha Yesufu of #BringBackOurGirls, Yemi Adamolekun of Enough is Enough, Bukky Shonibare, and many others.

One of the protesters said: “The senator needs to be recalled. He has no business representing any constituency. In fact, he has no business babysitting anybody’s dog, much less human beings. This is his character. We don’t want to hear that he did it before he became a senator. No, your character is your character and you will not change.”

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Shonibare said: “We expect that actions should be taken and it should be made public. There should be action against Senator Elisha Abbo and against the police orderly, who went against the law that he actually swore to protect. Let us look at it from the legal perspective. The police are supposed to be enforcing the law, which means there is a law to be enforced.

“I am here to remind us that the police orderly is supposed to be enforcing Section 263, sub-section 5 of the Penal Code, which clearly

Aisha Yesufu said: “For every time we are assaulted, most times, we don’t get an apology. We are not slaves. When people say think of her as a woman, I say think of her as a human being. Everyone of us should feel safe. To see that a policeman was there while she was being beaten is not good. The policeman is supposed to protect all citizens, irrespective of social class.”

The protesters read and submitted a copy of their petition to Force spokesman Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), who addressed them on behalf of IGP Mohammad Adamu.

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