Court orders Elisha Abbo, senator who assaulted woman in adult toy shop to pay N50m damages

THE Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered Elisha Abbo, a senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District in the National Assembly to pay N50 million to Osimibibra Warmate, a lady he assaulted at an adult toy shop in May 2019. 

The judgment was delivered by Justice Samira Bature in the case file with reference number – Suit No. FCT/CV/2393/19 – Osimibibra Warmate v Senator Elisha Abbo. Justice Bature also ordered him to tender a public apology.

Following the public outcry that greeted the video, the police arraigned Abbo before a magistrate court in Zuba, on a one-count charge for assaulting Warmate at a sex-toy shop in Abuja.

Despite video evidence of the incident, Abdullahi Ilelah, the magistrate, upheld the no-case submission filed by the lawmaker and dismissed the case.

Determined to get justice, Warmate headed for the FCT High Court to file a fundamental rights suit.

A Twitter user, Lugard Tare-Otu who claimed to be one of the lawyers that filed the case on behalf of the woman assaulted by Abbo expressed satisfaction about the judgement.

“I was a leading member of the team, with@nellymacaroni which filed the Court papers in a civil suit between Ms. Warmate v. Senator Elisha Abbo, for the assault of Ms. Warmate at an adult shop in Abuja. Excited to announce, Court slammed damages of N50m against Senator Abbo today,” he wrote on Twitter.

Another Twitter user under the name Nelson Macaroni who said he was part of the case a lawyer also expressed joy.

“Remember that video of a Nigerian Senator slapping/assaulting a young lady at a shop? Well justice was served today with the Court slamming the sum of N50M against the Senator. I am delighted to have represented that young lady in this suit. We say no more to oppression!”

In July 2019, Premium Times published a security camera footage that showed the lawmaker repeatedly slapping Warmate at an adult toy store in Abuja.

The 41-year-old Abbo at the time, according to the video clip that went viral on the social media seeing physically assaulting a woman after she pleaded with him not to abuse the shopowner whom the senator had earlier accused of insulting him.

Abbo, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thereafter called a policeman to arrest the shopowner. While the senator was beating up the woman who had pleaded with him to calm down, the police officer made no attempt to stop him. Rather, he attempted to arrest the victim.

The event was said to have occurred on May 11 — nearly three months after Abbo became a senator-elect and a month before he was sworn-in on June 11.

Following the assault, Nigerians on social media clamoured for justice to be served.

Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, also set up a committee to investigate the incident while the Inspector-General of Police also ordered the arrest of the senator.

Abbo, however, following public pressure tendered an apology describing himself as an ‘ambassador of Christ’, adding that he had learnt his lessons and would be of good conduct from now on.

“It is with a deep sense of remorse and responsibility that I, Senator Ishaku Abbo (SIA) profoundly apologize to all Nigerians, the Senate, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), my family, friends as well as our mothers – the Nigerian women,” his apology read.

    “I personally apologize to Bibra and her family for my action towards her, which has brought immense discomfort in our body polity.

    “I have never been known or associated with such actions in the past. Regardless of what transpired prior to my expression of anger, I am sincerely sorry and plead that all men and women of good conscience should have the heart to forgive me. To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

    Despite his apology, Nigerians pressed on and continued to call for Abbo’s recall, arrest, and prosecution.

    It could be recalled that the ad-hoc committee set up by the Senate to investigate the allegation of physical assault against the lawmaker had said that it was restrained and couldn’t pursue it until the court passed judgment on the case.

    On Tuesday, July 9, the lawmaker attended a sitting of the Senate ad-hoc committee where he refused to be questioned in the presence of journalists, with the explanation that the matter was in court.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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