Senator Elisha Abbo representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, has been reacting to the report of him physically assaulting a woman at a sex toy shop in Abuja, saying that the video had been doctored.
Abbo, who is currently Nigeria’s youngest senator at the age of 41, however did not deny that he was the one in the trending video which shows him repeatedly slapping a woman who had 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 which exclusively obtained the video reported that the incident occurred on May 11, 2019, nearly three months after Mr Abbo became a senator-elect and a month before he was sworn-in on June 11.
While the attack happened, an armed mobile police officer attached to the senator looked on, and was later directed by the senator to arrest the victim. The revelation drew outrage across the country with many calling for the prosecution of the senator and the policer officer with him. On Wednesday, protesters stormed the police headquarters demanding his arrest and prosecution.
But speaking to BBC, Senator Abbo said he was retaliating an earlier attack on him. He said the shop assistants had earlier assaulted his sister, which the video did not show.
He also said that contrary to Premium Times’ claim that incident occured on May 11, the incident took place on March 11
His words: “It happened long before I came into office and it’s just being released now to actually achieve a political aim.
“Secondly, I want to also say categorically that they cut off a clip where they [hit] my sister in the shop before I was called upon…to go upstairs where I saw my sister lying unconscious in the shop”.
The Nigerian Police Force has reacted to the incident. The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, spoke on behalf of the police on Wednesday when protesters stormed the force headquarters to demand action, especially because a police officer was part of the assault.
Mba said the police will do the right thing and would not sit back and watch the rights of Nigerians trampled upon in any way.
“We owe our loyalty to the constitution, to the laws of the land and to the people of this country” he added.
There are however unconfirmed reports that the Inspector Geeral of Police, Adamu Mohammed, has given orders for Abbo’s arrest.
Meanwhile, the senate on Wednesday at its sitting, set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter
The committee was set up following a motion sponsored by Uba Sani, senator representing Kaduna central.
According to Premium Times, 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.
The online newspaper stated that the victims and their lawyers refused to comment further on the incident because thy were afraid of a violent backlash from the senator who was said to have threatened to deal with them if the matter became public.