Nigeria’s youngest senator has been caught on camera physically assaulting a woman at an adult toy shop in Abuja.
Elisha Abbo, representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, descended on the woman after she pleaded with him not to physically assault the shopowner whom the senator had accused of insulting him. He said the shopowner called him a drunk.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively obtained the video of the assault, which occurred on May 11 — nearly three months after Mr Abbo became a senator-elect and a month before he was sworn-in on June 11.
The attack happened as an armed mobile police officer looked on, and instead made attempt to arrest the victim.
The assault was reported on May 14 at the Maitama Area Command Headquarters on Nile Street, but the police told the victim to go look for Mr Abbo’s telephone number or they would not be able to do anything about it, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
A weekend of booze
The victim of the assault and the storeowner declined comments for this story, saying they were afraid there could be a violent backlash from the senator. The victim’s lawyer also declined comment.
But witnesses and other sources familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES their accounts of what happened. They all declined to be identified, citing fears for their safety.
Mr Abbo, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had entered the shop at about 6:00 p.m. on May 11, a Saturday. The senator walked in with three young women to purchase adult toys, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
But shortly after they began shopping for the toys, one of the three girls brought in by Mr Abbo started throwing up. She vomited multiple times, prompting the shopowner to remark that the woman should have vomited outside and not inside her shop, especially since she was not a child.
Mr Abbo, who was said to be agitated by the sudden illness of one of his girls, was said to have accused the shopowner of poisoning the store’s airconditioner.
The shopowner’s argument that if the airconditioner had been contaminated others in the shop would have also taken ill further angered Mr Abbo, and the two began exchanging words over the matter.
In the first five minutes of the 10-minute video obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Abbo is seen sitting on a yellow power generator near the entrance of the shop. He could be heard within this time making calls and asking some people where they were and how close they were.
Just before the first-half of the video, an armed police officer walked in. Mr Abbo explained to the officer in Hausa that the woman insulted him and that he had called the assistant inspector-general (AIG) over the matter, who then assured him that he would call the police commissioner to call the Maitama Area Command. He also said he was disappointed in the shopowner, with whom he said he had been friends for five years.
Mr Abbo, 41, said the police officer should take the shopowner away. The shopowner quickly called her father to inform him that Mr Abbo had called the police over the matter and that she was about to be taken away.
Mr Abbo asked the shopowner to stop the call because he was talking to her, a demand the woman refused to accede to. Another man could be seen coming from behind the police officer to snatch the shopowner’s phone from her.
Next, the shopowner’s friend who had been standing nearby tried to intervene by pleading with the second man to take things easy.
“Oga, please take it easy now,” she said.
Mr Abbo switfly descended on the shopowner’s friend, saying she was “very stupid” and slapping her repeatedly, including directly on the eyes.
The senator then demanded that the two women should be taken to the police station. He repeatedly told the shopowner that he was disappointed in her for calling him a drunk, and that he would have harmed her more and closed down the shop but for their friendship.
The morning after
PREMIUM TIMES learned that the assaulted woman, who is nursing a child, was taken to a hospital, where she was treated for eye inflammation and other injuries she sustained during the attack.
Mr Abbo did not cover the medical bill. Neither did he show sympathy or reach out to the woman to apologise, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Instead, he was said to have returned to the shop to see whether a CCTV footage of the incident existed.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr Abbo was told that the CCTV in the shop was not functioning. He was said to have been very worried about the incident, threatening to deal with them if the footage of his violence ever surfaced.
The victim and her lawyer reported the matter at the Maitama Area Command since May 14, but the police have continued to stall, saying they did not know how to contact Mr Abbo.
The victim and her lawyer were said to have demanded apology from Mr Abbo. They also want him to settle the medical bill and desist from further threats of physical harm against the woman.
They also wanted a criminal investigation and possible prosecution of Mr Abbo for his action.
Mr Abbo did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ requests for comments. Two text messages and WhatsApp messages sent to him delivered, but he did not return them. He also did not take multiple calls to his telephone.
The police commissioner in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Ciroma, told PREMIUM TIMES the matter had not been escalated to him as of Tuesday morning.
He said he would like to receive the victim at his office urgently to explore a resolution of the case.