SENATOR Elisha Abbo has been granted bail in the sum of N5m after pleading not guilty to two charges of assault after being arraigned at the chief magistrate’s court in Zuba in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday.
In May this year, Senator Abbo, who represents the Adamawa North Senatorial District, was filmed on camera repeatedly slapping a nursing mother at a sex shop in Abuja. When the CCTV footage of the event went viral, there was a national outcry, leading to his arrest, questioning, detention and eventual charging to court.
After he appeared in court yesterday, the magistrate also said the senator must present two competent sureties to secure his appearance in subsequent hearings on the criminal charges as part of his bail conditions. At the hearing, Senator Abbo pleaded not guilty to both charges, despite his admission of wrongdoing and tendering an apology to both the victims and Nigerians last Wednesday.
At his hearing, the police filed two counts of criminal use of force and criminal assault against Senator Abbo yesterday. Senator Abbo, Nigeria’s youngest senator and a member of the opposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spent the night in custody after responding to police summons on Thursday.
Already, the National Council for Women Society (NCWS), FCT chapter, has rejected his apology. Mrs Hadiza Umar, the chairman of the chapter advocated for stiff punishment for Senator Abbo to serve as deterrent to others who assault women in workplaces, shops or markets.
She added: “I am here with my executives and members of NCWS FCT chapter for a peaceful demonstration on what an elected senator, who is supposed to serve us did to one of our women. We want to stop the barbaric habits on women either at home, in the markets, shops, workplace and everywhere in the country.
“We are women of integrity and mothers, we are not animals and we are saying no to violence against all women and the assault should stop with immediate effect. We reject his apology and we will do everything within the ambit of law to demand justice for our fellow woman who was assaulted.”
Mrs Umar called on the United Nations and all other international organisations to ensure the prosecution of Senator Abbo in order to guard against any future occurrence. Mrs Safiya Umar, the acting secretary of the FCT Social Development Secretariat (SDS), added that violence against women is an international offence as clearly stipulated in the UN Convention and Beijing Charter.
She disclosed that the secretariat had send an invitation to Senator Abbo for him to come and explain what transpired. According to Mrs Umar, the secretariat is very passionate about anything that affects women and children in the FCT.