Senator Elisha Abbo’s case has been dismissed only one year after Abbo was charged to court for assaulting a woman, Osimibibra Warmate, inside a sex toy shop in Abuja. Interestingly, the prosecution had provided as evidence the video of the incident, captured by the shop’s CCTV, the video of Abbo’s public apology, and a medical report signed by one Dr Ambrose Ibegbule who treated the victim after the incident. However, the case was thrown out by the court stating that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt!
According to the presiding magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, the prosecution’s case centred on the oral evidence of the victim (Ms Warmate) and the two discs contained CCTV footage of the incident and alleged video clip of an apology from the defendant (Mr Abbo). He added that the medical report of Mega Sight Eye Clinic did not disclose in detail what happened to the victim and Dr. Ambrose Ibegbule who wrote the report was not called as a witness. The court also said the video of the press conference showing Mr Abbo apologising was not tantamount to an admission of guilt as it was not a confessional statement. Mr Ilelah added that the testimony of the victim was “so weak because the allegation has not been substantiated in any material particular” and the police did not do a proper investigation as it relied solely on the statement of the victim.
When did video evidence clearly showing the accused committing a crime become insufficient? Is the Nigerian Judiciary as corrupt as it is blind? The case against Senator Abbo should be reopened, to at least salvage whatever droplets of justice can be squeezed out of the judiciary system! The once hallowed halls of the Nigerian courts were charged with upholding truth and fighting for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves and ensuring that the privileged who seek to take away these very rights are put in their place: well within the reach of the law.
Furthermore, when a lawmaker becomes a law breaker and goes scot-free, it belittles the dignity of the Senate as an institution. The Senate as a whole should be ashamed at this development! It speaks to their integrity as a body if they cannot hold one another accountable for their excesses. The Senate should reopen Abbo’s case as a commitmnet to uphold democracy and the rule of law.
The actions and inactions of the Nigerian Police in this saga is disappointing to say the least. It is high time that the the police refuse to compromise themselves by allowing highly-placed individuals in the society to use them to harass and intimidate their fellow citizens. The video shows a police officer standing idly by while Ms Warmate, a nursing mother, is assaulted. If the police officer cannot tell who needs protecting and from whom, then he deserves an inquest and punishment. The case should be reopened because not only does Abbo have to answer for his crimes, the additional officers involved and their supervisors should not be spared either.