By Shola Abayomi.
The investigative panel set up by the Senate to probe the alleged assualt of a nursing mother by Senator Ishiaku Abbo witnessed a rowdy session today, following a face-off between the embattled senator and members of the panel.
Recall that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan had on July 3, set up a 6-man panel headed by former Ebonyi State governor, Senator Sam Egwu, to investigate the assualt charge against the Adamawa senator.
Senator Abbo, who appeared before the panel today, explained to his colleagues that the matter was already in court, and consequent upon that, would not make further comments on the matter to avoid contempt of court. Abbo, also declined a move by the clerk of the panel to put him to oath, adding that his presence was only out of honour for his colleagues.
Reacting to Abbo’s comments, a member of the panel, Senator Oluremi Tinubu criticized him for “dictating modalities” for the Senate, while reminding him of the powers of the Senate to suspend him.
Tinubu said: “The Senate carefully selected members of this committee to hear your own side of the story which has gone viral.
“What we are doing here as a legislature is a position taken by the Senate to hear from you and others involved.
“This matter has affected the Senate as an institution and we have been mandated to investigate it.
“You can’t sit there on the other side and dictate the modalities and approach we follow to us as committee.
“We are trying to protect the Senate and hear from you, but we can also suspend you because of your attitude.”
Infuriated at the threat of suspension, Senator Abbo flared up, challenging his colleagues.
“Dear colleagues, I won’t sit here and allow this committee to threaten me with suspension.
“Is it out of place for me to say I’m not addressing you since this matter is before a court of law of competent jurisdiction?
“I came here to honour you as colleagues after receiving an SMS inviting me here.
“Just the same way I have received SMS from the police. I was arrested, detained and charged to court over this matter. Yet, I’m here out of respect for you as colleagues.
“I want you to remember that this matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction and I don’t want to go to contempt of the Court,” he said.
Members of the press were later ushered out of the venue to quell the rowdiness following further confrontations.