More than two months after the Senate set up a committee to ‘investigate’ how a senator, Elisha Abbo, was caught on camera assaulting a lady, the committee is yet to present its findings.
The Senate initially set July 24 as the deadline for the committee to submit its report.
A week before then, the committee, headed by Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North), had sought a deadline extension because “the case is already in court and, therefore, it is subjudice… we want to wait until the court has taken their decision.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, however, faulted this logic, saying the Red Chamber’s investigation should be independent of the police’s.
“It is not our concern. We are not investigating criminal activities. We are investigating misconduct. The Senate is not investigating what the police (are) investigating,” Mr Lawan replied then.
The committee was then given one more week to submit its findings.
But, over two months later, the report is yet to be presented.
Section 88 of the constitution empowers the National Assembly to investigate allegations of misconduct against members.
This investigation could be over the conduct of any “person, authority, or government body that has the duty of executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly.”
Although such investigation cannot be aimed to punish, the section states that it shall only be either to “make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any
defects in existing laws” or “expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence”.
On May 11, barely three months after Mr Abbo became a senator-elect and a month before he was sworn in on June 11, he was caught on camera assaulting a woman in a sex toy shop in Abuja.
Footage of the video seen by this newspaper showed the PDP senator, who represents Adamawa North Senatorial District, physically assaulting the woman, whom he accused of insulting him by calling him “a drunk”. A policeman, who stood by, did nothing to protect the victim.
Mr Abbo owned up to later by issuing an apology on the screen amidst tears.
He, thereafter, turned himself in to the police, who held him for a night, before granting him bail “after meeting a set of administrative conditions for his bound”.
The Abuja police spokesperson did not give specific terms of the bail.
The lawmaker, however, pleaded not guilty in court despite the issued apology.
This followed his arraignment before the Chief Magistrate court, Zuba, Abuja, with two counts of criminal charges preferred against him.
The court granted him bail of N5 million with two competent sureties.
Meanwhile, the Senate and Mr Abbo’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had also set up separate,fact-finding committees to look into the assault allegation.
On the part of the upper chamber, its ad-hoc committee was set up on July 3, following to a point of order raised by Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central).
The bipartisan committee set up had Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North) as Chairman. Other members are: Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central); Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North); Danladi Sankara (APC, Jigawa Northwest); Dauda Aliu Jika (APC, Bauchi Central); Sani Musa (APC, Niger East); and Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South).
There was a mild altercation between the embattled senator and his colleagues when he appeared before the committee.
Report will be presented very soon – Sam Egwu
When contacted, Mr Egwu, chairman of the committee, said “very soon,” the report will be presented at the floor of the House.
Mr Egwu failed to give a specific date.
“(The committee is) ready with the report but remember we just resumed after a six weeks break. Be also reminded that before the break (the) Senate suspended plenary and all committee activities to screen and confirm Ministerial Nominees of the President,” Mr Egwu replied in a text to PREMIUM TIMES.
The spokesperson of the Upper House, Adedayo Adeyeye, however, did not answer calls and text messages sent to him.
The Senate is to resume plenary on October 2.
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