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Senate sets up committee to investigate Senator Abbo over alleged assault

The Senate on Wednesday resolved to investigate its embattled member, Senator Elisha Abbo, (Adamawa North) who allegedly assaulted a nursing mother at a supermarket In Abuja.

Former Ebonyi State governor, Sam Egwu will lead the seven-man committee which has two weeks to submit its findings. President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan announced the composition at plenary yesterday.

The Closed Circuit Television, (CCTV) footage of the physical assault of the victim by Senator Abbo who was accompanied to the supermarket by three ladies and a Police officer went viral on Tuesday night.

Moving the motion under Order 14 of the Senate rule, Senator Uba Sani, (Kaduna Central) said the unsavoury development cast a slur on the credibility of the Senate and demanded a decisive action to redeem it.

He said:” I stand to condemn what happened yesterday. We saw it on the media that one of the distinguished senators here in the person of Senator Elisha Abbo from Adamawa North was caught on a video which has gone viral, abusing a lady innocently. And that has gone a long way in tarnishing the image and credibility of this distinguished Senate.

” As a member of this Senate, my own credibility is at stake just like other people here. Some of us have spent most of our lives defending and fighting for the rights of the less privileged, most especially youths, women and children.

“What happened yesterday has caused a lot of pains for me and a lot of women around the world not only in Nigeria here. I, therefore, call on this distinguished Senate to take a decisive action to redeem the image of this Senate. Between yesterday till this morning, I have received nothing less than 111 (phone) calls, not only from this country but even from outside the country.”

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, (Ekiti Central) said the alleged assault was despicable but called for a thorough investigation to ensure that justice was manifestly done.

“It was an extremely tragic incident but we cannot afford to be sensational about this. On the other hand, Mr President. Nigerians must able to see us very clearly as people who are willing and ready to lead by example.

“Much as we must ensure our colleague does not suffer for what he did not do, assuming without conceding he did not do this, on the other hand, we must be able to protect the right of the Nigerian who also has been reported to have been violated.

“What we read in the news is a clear violation of sections 333, 34, and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which provides respectively for the right to life, right to dignity of a person, right to personal liberty.

“There is need for this Senate to be able to set up an ad-hoc committee to thoroughly investigate this and give each side fair hearing, so that in the eye of the public and to our conscience, we would have been to ensure that justice is not only dispensed in this matter but has been done transparently.

Senate Minority Leader, Ehinnaya Abaribe similarly called for caution in passing judgement of guilt on Senator Abbo but insisted that justice be dispensed without fear or favour to inspire the confidence of Nigerians that Senators could show good examples for ordinary Nigerians to emulate.

He said: “Section 56 of our rule book states clearly, the mode of behaviour of each and everyone of us but as has been rightly pointed out, whatever behaviour we exhibit inside here, it is assumed that we should also do so outside.

” As I said yesterday, we are 109 privileged Nigerians; that means that if you are privileged, it comes with responsibility. We cannot at this moment apportion guilt, we cannot at this moment determined who is right and who is wrong if it happens.

Assuming if it happens, because we are now getting another story concerning that incident

“I urge this chamber to suspend judgement until we can investigate this matter further, that will be in the interest of justice to us and it will be in the interest to all Nigerians who look upon us to show a good example. ”

Announcing the composition of the seven-man committee, Senator Lawan said the Senate was determined to show that it was not only responsible but responsive, saying the victim of the alleged assault would be invited to give her side of the story.

“Whatever we saw in the video remains an allegation. Let us find out what happened. Both parties will have a fair hearing.

” This morning, I received a lot of calls from both within this country and outside, on the incident that went viral on the internet.

“I believe that this Senate is very responsible and responsive. We cannot condone any type of violence.

“If there is any allegation of violation, we cannot but deal with it in such a manner that will ensure that justice prevail.

“As the Senate Minority Leader said, we are a privileged people representing our senatorial districts, representing the citizens of this country.

“Therefore, we are going to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter, and that will be an opportunity for our colleague, Senator Elisha Agbo to defend himself on those allegations against him.

” It will also be an opportunity for the lady, that was assaulted to present herself. I want to assure Nigerians that we will continue to be here for them. This Senate will work for Nigerians”

Members of the ad-hoc committee are Senators Sam Egwu, Oluremi Tinubu, Dauda Ahiru Jika, Stella Oduah, Sani Musa, Danladi Sankara and Mathew Oroghide.

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