Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Embattled Senator Elisha Abbo, who was alleged to have assaulted a nursing mother at an adult toy shop yesterday evening told the Senate Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate the allegation that he cannot be threatened with suspension.
Abbo, who had a closed-door session with the committee headed by a former Ebonyi State Governor, Senator Sam Egwu, at Senate Committee Room 305, was reacting to the submission of a member of the committee, Senator Remi Tinubu who said he can be suspended by the committee.
Abbo had reacted to Tinubu’s submission saying “I will not sit down here and watch you threaten me with suspension. I am a Senator like you. I take exemption to that.”
Tinubu had earlier told Abbo: “Put off your mic and let me finish my point. Do you also realise that this committee can also suspend you?”
Senator Tinubu further told Senator Abbo, “you are digging a hole for yourself. I am also another woman; you better be careful. We took the decision and you didn’t even wait for us to tell you the method we wanted to adopt”.
While justifying why he would only appear in camera, Abbo had earlier said “I cannot be speaking before this committee because that would be subjudice since the matter under investigation is already before the court. So, why should I be facing the camera.”
To this submission, Tinubu has responded saying “Distinguished, we want to tell you. You are just joining us. We also have a procedure. What we are doing; we are doing it as a legislature.
“Everybody deserves a fair hearing. What is going on with you, affects us as a body. That is why the Senate President constituted this committee. You can see the level and integrity of members of the committee.
“You don’t come here and dictate to us, the procedure we are supposed to follow. You are undermining us by trying to do that. You are not even listening to us. Even if we are going beyond what you expect, you can stop us. Do you want us to protect you, defend you or do you want to be on your own?”
The committee eventually agreed that Senator Abbo should appear in camera before it.
However before the committee went into closed session, Senator Abbo said he decided to apologise over the incident last week in order to protect the institution of the Senate, adding that the matter happened before he became the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to him, the incident has been over taken by event.
Also yesterday, the Senate spokesman, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, justified the setting up of the Ad-hoc committee.
Adeyeye told reporters that “even if a matter does not involve a Senator, we can still investigate it as matters involving ordinary Nigerians are investigated by the Senate.
“In this particular instance, this is a Senator. Whether it happened when he was a Senator-elect or not, the Senate reserves the prerogative to look at it. When the Senate conducts investigations like this, it is not necessarily for punitive purposes. It is at least to establish some paradigm to guide the behaviour of, not only Senators, but of citizens of Nigeria.
“The committee will go ahead with its work irrespective of the fact that the matter is in court; it doesn’t stop the court case, which is criminal. Naturally, being a criminal offence, it has to be investigated and prosecuted. That will not in any way affect the Senate’s investigation”, Adeyeye added.