Assaulted Lawmaker Files N4.4bn Suit as House Committee Concludes Investigation

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Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Mkrapor Onyemaechi (Delta PDP), has filed a N4.4 billion suit against the  Controller General of Prisons, Dr. Peter Ezenwa Expendu, whose aides allegedly assaulted her on April 20, 2016 at the gate of the National Assembly for overtaking his convoy.

The suit was filed before the Federal High Court in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory.
This is as the Chairman of the Committee investigating the incident, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba, disclosed that the report of the investigation was ready and would be laid before the House.

An initial report indicted Idaa Odeh  who was fingered by witnesses as having slapped her in the face, and Deputy CG, Shehu Kangiwa who was accused by witnesses as having banged the lawmaker’s vehicle and called her ‘prostitute’ was also indicted by the committee, although he was absent from the hearing.
Following the submission of the report to the House for adoption on April 26, 2016, the lawmakers had directed the committee to hear from Kangiwa, in the spirit of fair hearing.

THISDAY gathered that Kangiwa, and other prison officials have however been lobbying the House through their representatives to ensure that the House report does not see the light of day.

Speaking with THISDAY in an interview on Monday, Mkrapor confirmed that there had been some lobbying to get her to drop the case, adding that Odeh’s representative in the House had been contacted by his family to appeal to her not to pursue the matter.

“When I enquired, I was told he (Kangiwa) has been heard,” she said.
She noted that the delay to conclude the matter might be due to the busy schedule of the Deputy Speaker, who considers reports.
“It was about that period that this matter of the budget which was returned happened, and he headed the harmonisation committee, so I know he has been busy,” she added.

Mkrapor disclosed that she has filed a suit in Court to demand justice, as allowing the matter to die would be a disservice to women who suffer different form of abuse every day.

“Yes, people have been talking to me about forgiveness; but I need to establish that no one should be treated like they do not matter. I am not a lawless person, and I think the law should be obeyed.
“Women are assaulted everyday, we are treated like second class citizens. It would be discouraging to women if I let it die just like that. They would just take abuse quietly, and tell themselves after all it happened to a lawmaker, and nothing happened,” she added.

The Chairman of the Committee on Interior, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba,  in a telephone conversation with THISDAY dispelled fears that the House would be lobbied to drop the matter.
He confirmed that Kangiwa has appeared before the committee, and his statements have been taken.
“In fact we (the committee)  met last week. Nobody can lobby me, that is not my style at all, besides she is my colleague. As far as we are concerned some sections of our laws have been violated, and those found guilty must be punished,” Jagaba said.