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Assault: Elisha Abbo blames Nigerians for N50 million judgement

A federal court asks the Nigerian senator to pay N50 million in damages for assaulting a woman at an adult toy shop.

• September 28, 2020
Senator Elisha Abbo
Senator Elisha Abbo [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]

Elisha Abbo has downplayed the verdict of a federal court that asked him to settle up to N50 million in fines for assaulting a woman last year.

Mr. Abbo told Peoples Gazette Monday afternoon that Nigerians mounted pressure on the judge to convict him for an offence he committed on videotape, saying the judge wouldn’t have found him culpable otherwise.

“The judgment is an injustice and abuse of the rule of law,” Mr. Abbo told Peoples Gazette shortly after the judgement was handed down Monday afternoon. “It is a jungle justice similar to that of social media.”

“I feel for the judge who was under pressure from the public and gave the judgment based on sentiments and not the facts and truth,” Mr. Abbo said. “It will not stand.“

A CCTV footage captured Mr. Abbo as he humiliated and unloaded a series of slaps on a female attendant at an adult toy shop in Abuja.

The May 2019 incident was later exposed by Premium Times a few weeks later, triggering public backlash and a Senate investigation. Mr. Abbo apologised, but was nonetheless arrested by the police and charged for criminal assault.

A magistrate in Abuja found him not guilty of criminal assault last month. A Senate panel that investigated the matter had since returned its findings, but the Senate leadership has declined to make the report public, despite repeated requests from rights groups and everyday Nigerians.

On Monday morning, the Maitama Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, awarded up to N50 million in liability against Elisha Abbo. 

The verdict stemmed from a civil lawsuit filed by the victim Osimibibra Warmate. 

Justice Samira Bature, in suit number FHC CV/2393/19, lampooned Mr. Abbo for his conduct. 

Mr. Abbo’s lawyers have said they would appeal the judgement immediately. 

Nigerians have been celebrating since Peoples Gazette broke the news of the verdict earlier on Monday. They see it as crucial to boosting the moral of victims of abuse in the country’s judicial system.

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