Kingsley Nwezeh and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The FCT Chapter of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) of Nigeria has rejected the apology by Senator Elisha Abbo, who is embattled after he being caught on video assaulting a woman at a sex shop in Abuja.
The embattled Senator however had reprieve come his way when the police granted him bail after several hours quizzing.
The women made their grouse known yesterday at press conference following a protest at the FCT Administration office.
They were led by the Chairman FCT NCWS, Hadiza Abdulahi Umar, the immediate past chairman, Nancy Godwin-Bulus and the Acting Secretary of Social Development Secretariat Hajia Safia Umar.
Abbo representing Adamawa North Central has admitted to the assault and was on Thursday detained by the FCT Police command which has commenced investigation into the assault.
Godwin-Bulus, who is also the Special Assistant to the National Chairman of NCWS, Dr. Labaran Shoda, said the women group rejected Abbo’s apology. She also insisted that the NCWS mandate secretary had said the battery would be referred to the UN.
“The time has come and will fight to the last. Even though he has tendered an apology, we are not accepting it. We will not accept it unless things are done properly .We want the Police to do the right thing because at the end of the day our mandate secretary has said they will take this matter to the UN until Abbo is brought to book,” Godwin-Bulus said.
Umar on her part, decried the assault as a violation of the UN affirmation of women’s right which was enshrined in the Beijing Women Conference of 1995.
She also disclosed that the women had invited Abbo in writing to state his own side of the matter, but had not heard from him.
The SDS acting secretary said that NCWS and other women rights would respect the wishes of women who constituted 70- 80 per cent of Nigerian voters by defiantly rejecting the under-fire senator’s pleas for forgiveness.
“To err is human but to forgive is divine. He has committed an offence against women and you know if Nigerian women say they are not taking the apology, who are we to say we are taking it?
“NCWS is a signatory to the UN Convention on the rights for women. And as a statutory organisation charged to protect women rights, we have no option than to support NCWS to ensure that the person for whom the apology is directed to accept or not to accept. We have spoken, the apology is not accepted. If the police has a case of assault levelled against him, they should pursue it on their own, while the women society will go ahead and do our own because this is an offence against women,” Umar declared.
She said NCWS would lose face before the UN next year if argues that it was consoled with a public apology while women were being battered in the country.
Abo was detained overnight for assaulting a sales girl at an adult shop in Abuja.
Following the incident, the Senate set up a committee to investigate his involvement in the assault.
The trending video of the assault which has become a social media hit was captured on CCTV.
FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, said Abbo was allowed to go home yesterday after meeting a set of administrative conditions for his bound.
The senator owned up to the violence, which occurred in May, and issued an apology at a press briefing Wednesday night.
Ciroma did not give specific terms of the bail but a police source said they were “stringent enough to secure his return to the investigators as may be necessary”.
It was gathered that Mr. Abbo was released because the victim of the assault had travelled out of Abuja to attend the burial of a deceased family member.
Ciroma said he would carry out a thorough investigation into the matter in order to give all parties fair hearing and to see that justice is done.
He said a forensic analysis of the video would be carried out as part of the investigation.
“We need to do a forensic analysis of the CCTV footage that is in circulation, but this may take about a week or two to conclude,” he said.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had directed the FCT Police Command to investigate the assault case following the public outcry that trailed it.