On May 11, a Nigerian member of parliament, Ishaku Elisha Cliff Abbo, was captured on camera physically assaulting a woman in an adult sex toy shop in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Nigeria's online daily Premium Times exclusively reported that Abbo had visited the adult sex toy shop accompanied with three young women. Soon after they arrived, one of the three women with Abbo started vomiting. Abbo then accused the shop owner of “poisoning the store's air conditioner” and “the two began exchanging words.”
Abbo called the police over the matter and one police officer arrived. Abbo instructed him to arrest the shop owner. The shop owner then tried to call her father for help, but Abbo tried to stop her. When a witness, the shop owner's friend, tried to intervene, Abbo said she was “‘very stupid’ and slapped her repeatedly, including directly on the eyes,” in front of the police officer. The officer slightly restrained Abbo before arresting both women.
In the presence of a police officer, Nigerian Senator Elisha Abbo, representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, assaults sales staff in an adult toy store in Abuja. pic.twitter.com/ezDpecGetD
— T. Rankïn’ ∆ ? (@AfroVII) July 2, 2019
The police released both women without charges and the woman who was physically assaulted by Abbo was taken to the hospital for medical treatment. She then contacted a lawyer and demanded an apology from the MP — which he never gave.
The lawyer then reported the case to the police on May 14. Since then, the police have stalled on further action.
Abbo, 41, is Nigeria’s youngest MP representing Adamawa North Senatorial District in northeastern Nigeria, in the Senate — the country’s upper legislative house.
Abbo – a newcomer to politics from the Peoples Democratic Party— won the senatorial seat by defeating the incumbent and only female contestant from northern Nigeria, Binta Garba, of the ruling party All Progressive Congress, in the general elections that took place earlier this year.
Abbo told The Punch newspaper that he is “putting [a] team together” who will respond to the allegations.
Nigerians are outraged since the video of the MP's assault went viral within the last 24 hours with #SenatorElishaAbbo trending on Twitter.
Amnesty International has called on the Nigerian police to investigate the allegations.
Amnesty International is calling on Nigeria Police @PoliceNG to investigate Senator Elisha Abbo (Adamawa North) for alleged assault on staff of an adult shop he patronizes in Abuja. Video of the senator assaulting women is widely available for police to act: #Nigeria @NGRSenate pic.twitter.com/UDvCu0wBiJ
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) July 2, 2019
Farroq Kperogi, Nigerian scholar and public intellectual, called on the Senate to suspend Abbo:
This is the face of the senatorial beast by the name of Elisha Abbo who physically assaulted a nursing mother for merely pleading with him to “take it easy.” This medieval idiot has no place in d Nigerian senate. The senate must suspend him, and his constituents should recall him pic.twitter.com/tDnEW1VF0R
— Farooq Kperogi, Ph.D (@farooqkperogi) July 2, 2019
Other netizens expressed their anger:
— eelive (@eeliveblog) July 3, 2019
Sen Elisha Cliff Abbo is a vile human being. A truly despicable person who stands as an example of how not to behave. To assault an unarmed woman repeatedly in such an inhumane way is disgraceful conduct unworthy & unbecoming of a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
— The Male Arya Stark (@I_Am_Ilemona) July 2, 2019
Some used this moment to call for zero tolerance of gender-based violence:
We must be able to exercise our powers as citizens and not tolerate these breed of people in places of power, the constitution allows for the ability to recall elected officials as Elisha Abbo, we must exercise those rights by not tolerating gender based violence. @basilabia https://t.co/wPSSQl0nO7
— . (@FakhuusHashim) July 2, 2019
Others took the time to critique the Nigerian police's response to the matter:
The ease of the violence, the flagrant abuse of power, and the connivance of @PoliceNG to deny these women justice are sickening. How many minutes ago did this man become a legislator?
— Chioma Agwuegbo (@ChiomaChuka) July 2, 2019
On July 3, Nigerians are protesting Abbo's assault on the woman at the headquarters of the Nigerian police in Abuja.
Aisha Yesufu, co-convener of #BringBackOurGirls movement has demanded that the police officer who was present while Abbo assaulted the shop owner's friend should “be relieved of his uniform because he broke the constitution.” As a law enforcement officer, he should protect the vulnerable and not be a tool of oppression to be manipulated by politicians.
— Amplified Radio (@AmplifiedR) July 3, 2019