As the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is trying to settle down for serious legislative business after their inauguration, Nigerians still hold divergent views on whether or not the 9th Assembly would be able to make a difference with the trending CCTV footage showing the brutal encounter between Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo and a young nursing mother at an adult toy store in Abuja recently. One begins to have a rethink on the reputation and integrity of some of the characters that constitute the 9th assembly.
Despite the efforts so far made by the youngest senator of the 9th Assembly to justify his utterly barbaric and shameful behaviour, his defence has not changed the narrative in any way. A psychoanalysis of the Senator’s Parental Background and his Social Achievements at age 41 showed that luck is truly on his side. He defeated the then incumbent Senator Bimta Massi Garba to become the one to represent Adamawa North Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). He might be eminently qualified by all standards to run for the senate position, that being an existential reality is undisputable. But this has not immune him against criminal culpability in any way. What this means is that vying for and winning an election into the senate doesn’t automatically make one qualified to be called distinguished senator.
Even at the point of provocation, he ought to have shown some level of emotional intelligence by ignoring the intolerable antics of the young lady or he ought to have allowed the police officer invited to take appropriate action rather than beating the woman in the presence of the police officer.
Instead of taking the rightful decision by allowing the police officer act justifiably within the purview of law, it was a case of raining slaps, molesting and subjecting the lady to public ridicule as shown by the CCTV footage. If truly the senator is convinced that the adult toy shop owner had doctored the viral video, he would do his personality and social reputation good by approaching the court of law to seek redress immediately.
Issuing press statement alone is not enough to exonerate him of culpability. Except he presents counter – evidence of his innocence, the police authorities should be adjudged to have acted right by giving an order for the arrest of Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo. He should equally be charged for assault and battery immediately, once prima facie case is established against him.
Whatever might have prompted the young lady to have called him a drunk, he has no right to have resulted to self-help. From third party perspective, I could not fathom the kind of argument that might have ensued between the youngest senator in town and the lady to have given the nursing mother the effrontery to call him a drunk, if he had behaved gently and conducted himself well when the two of them had the encounter that day.
By the senator’s admission, one could see that the powerful and wealthy persons do abuse the opportunity and access they have to security agents. Nigerians deserve to know the police officer in whose presence the senator beat and molested the young lady without any effort to call the senator to order or get him arrested.
Because the conduct of this single senator has a way of shaming the entire Senate, the Senate owes the nation the duty of carrying out thorough investigation of immediate and remote causes of the altercation between a senator and attendant of an adult toy store leading to the current uproar.
It should not stop there, appropriate sanctions need to be meted out to the culprit to prove to the whole world that the 9th assembly is peopled by persons with sound acumens. With the ugly incident, people have been given the reason to doubt the sanity of some of our elected representatives.
While appreciating the prompt action of the Senate with the decision to set up an investigation committee in order to address the highly embarrassing incident, the police must equally be seen to have satisfactorily played its statutory roles by inviting the assailant for interrogation and prosecution, if need be.
The Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Muhammed Adamu, according to report has ordered for the arrest of the senator for necessary interrogation and probable prosecution. He must not stop there, the IGP must get to the root of the matter. By being assertive in handling the matter, the IGP would have done the nation good and this will make it sink into the brains of highly powerful persons particularly political office holders that nobody is above the law.
The alibi put forward by Senator Abbo that the incident happened before he was elected Senator was flimsy and insubstantial giving the fact that the Premium Times that first reported the matter said it happened May 11 nearly three months after he became Senator. Even if it happened on the eve of his 41st birthday, the timing does not in any way cause his exoneration from the heinous crime of assault and battery.
Until the matter is properly investigated and Senator Elisha Ishaka Abbo cleared of any excessiveness, infraction or culpability of the allegation of assault against him, it is my considered opinion that he should cease to add ‘distinguished’ to his own title as Senator.
Rahaman Onike, a public affairs analyst writes from Oyo, Oyo State. Email: [email protected]