A Magistrate Court in Zuba on the outskirts of Abuja has dismissed the case of assault against Senator Elisha Abbo, Punch reports.
Abbo, the lawmaker representing Adamawa-North, was seen assaulting a woman named Osimibibra Warmate in a viral video (watch here). Afterwards, the Nigeria Police Force instituted a case of assault against him.
The assault caused outrage after the video went viral and the lawmaker apologized to his victim in a televised press conference.
A Magistrate Court has now dismissed the suit for lack of diligent prosecution by the police.
The Magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, who upheld a no-case submission filed by Senator Abbo, said the police failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the lawmaker indeed assaulted Osimibibra Warmate on May 11, 2019.
Magistrate Ilelah, in his ruling, stated that:
”The evidence and exhibits tendered do not disclose a prima facie case of the alleged crime of criminal force and assault against the defendant (Abbo).
The prosecution’s case centered on the oral evidence of PW1 (Warmate), the two discs which contained a CCTV footage of the incident and an alleged video clip of an apology from the defendant (Abbo).”
This is despite a video recording showing the assault play out and another video showing him apologize to his victim.
During the trial, two witnesses testified against Senator Abbo and they are Warmate who was the nominal complainant and a police officer, ASP Mary Daniel, who investigated the matter.
In her testimony, Warmate said she had gone to visit a friend, Kemi at Pleasure Chest Sex Toy Shop, Banex Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja on May 11, 2019, when the lawmaker walked in with three women.
She said one of the women that accompanied Abbo started vomiting and later fainted.
Warmate said when she left the shop, she received a frantic call from the owner of the shop asking her to come to her aid as the lawmaker had accused her of fouling the shop’s air conditioning system that caused one of his female companions to vomit and was threatening to get her arrested.
The victim said when she returned to the shop and was cleaning up the vomit, two men – one of them a policeman in uniform – barged into the shop and assaulted them on the orders of Senator Elisha Abbo.
The court had on July 8, 2020, granted bail to Senator Abbo in the sum of N5million and the sureties must have verifiable addresses within the Federal Capital Territory.
The Senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District was granted bail by a Senior Magistrate Abdullahi Ilellah.
This was after the lawmaker was arraigned by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police at Zuba Magistrate Court, Abuja.
The court further said that Senator Abbo’s apology was not tantamount to an admission of guilt, as it wasn’t a confessional statement, and that the police did not do a proper investigation but relied solely on the statement of the victim.
There was more, too, about the testimony of the victim. The court said it was so weak because the allegation has not been sustained in any material in particular.
The Magistrate said that there was no detailed report of what happened to the victim included in the medical reports of the eye clinic where Warmate was treated, Mega Sight, and that the doctor who wrote the report, Ambrose Ibegbule, was not called as a witness.
”The IPO (Investigating Police Officer) did not investigate this case at all or she just charged the defendant to court via the F.I.R (First Information Report) without due care and attention.
In fact, she has succeeded in creating a doubt in the mind of this court during cross-examination and the Supreme Court held that where there is a doubt in a criminal trial, such doubt should be resolved in favor of the defendant.”
He further said that the court would not rely on logic or media reports, but on the law, because he who alleges must prove.
“The defendant is hereby discharged under Section 303(3)(c) and (d) of the ACJA 2015,” the magistrate said.
Nigerians have since taken to Twitter to express their disappointment, and these are some of the things they had to say:
Do you remember Senator Abbo who assaulted a lady in a sex toy shop?
He has been told to take a bow & walk by an Abuja magistrate court.
This life is not balance at all.#SenatorAbbo #SaturdayMorning #SaturdayThoughts #SaturdayMood #EidMubarak #EidAladha2020 #katrina pic.twitter.com/AqRs04QMQ3
— Integrity Watchdog (@integritywatch) August 1, 2020
There was an apology video just in case you claim that the face cap obstructed full view of his face. Kemi could have been called to testify.
So what exactly did the prosecution present that made a judge not let the case proceed to trial? This Nigeria eh.#SenatorAbbo
— tega onojaife (@tegasupreme) August 1, 2020
— John (@johnchinedu2) August 1, 2020
What a Joke! @OlumideAkpata Congratulations on your win Sir. However, is this our reality? Is this the judicial system of Nigeria? One that cherry picks and acts on the whims of those in power. I am appalled! #senatorabbo pic.twitter.com/O8yg87VzN1
— Kachi Offiah (@kachioffiah) August 1, 2020
Is there a logical reason for us to continue to abide in a system where dignity is continually trampled on? On moral grounds, #SenatorAbbo has lost the right to make laws. He must be recalled asap.
— The mystic (@AYDGENIUS) August 1, 2020