The Senate’s seven-member ad-hoc committee investigating the assault incident by Elisha Abbo, a Peoples Democratic Party senator, is expected to submit its findings in two weeks, Senate President Ahmed Lawan has said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Abbo was caught on camera assaulting a woman in a sex toy shop in Abuja.
The senator, who represents Adamawa North Senatorial District, descended on the woman after she pleaded with him not to physically assault the shop owner whom the senator had accused of insulting him. He said the shop owner called him a drunk.
The incident 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 attempts to arrest the victim.
The Senate’s decision to set up the committee was sequel to a point of order raised by Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central).
Mr Sani said the video has gone a long way in tarnishing the image and credibility of the Senate.
“As a member of this Senate, my own credibility is at stake. Some of us have spent most of our lives defending and fighting for the rights of less privileged and most especially, the youth and women.
“I, therefore, call on this Senate to take a decisive action to redeem the image of this Senate,” he said.
Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) described the incident as extremely tragic news and urged the Senate not to be sensational about it.
“Nigerians must also be able to see us as people who are willing and ready to lead by example.
“We must be able to protect the right of the Nigerian who has been violated. What we saw is a clear violation of sections 33, 34 and 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides respectively for the right to life, right to dignity of human person and right to personal liberty.
“I believe there is a need for the Senate to set up an ad hoc committee to thoroughly investigate this issue and give each side a fair hearing so that to the public and our own conscience, we would be able to ensure that justice is not just dispensed but that it is done transparently,” he said.
The Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said lawmakers should always show the same character inside and outside the chamber.
“We are privileged Nigerians. That means that if you are privileged, it comes with responsibilities. I want us to suspend judgment until we can investigate this matter further. That will be in the interest of justice to all and to Nigerians who look up to us to show good example,” he said.
On his part, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the report remains an allegation until an investigation is done. He said both parties would have a fair hearing.
“This morning, I received a lot of calls about the incident. I believe that this Senate will be responsive. We cannot condone any act of violence by anyone. If there is an allegation against any of us, we must ensure that justice prevails.
“We are going to set up a bi-partisan committee to investigate the issue. That will be an opportunity for our colleague to defend himself and also an opportunity for the lady assaulted to present and prove her case. This will be a Senate that will work for Nigerians.
The committee will be chaired by Sam Egwu. Members of the committee are Oluremi Tinubu, Matthew Uroghide, and Stella Oduah.
Others are Dauda Haliru, Danladi Sankara and Mohammed Sani.
Mr Lawan asked the committee to investigate the matter and report back in two weeks.