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Nigeria's youngest MP physically assaults woman in sex shop

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Governance, Politics, Protest, Women & Gender

Screenshot of Nigerian member of parliament, Senator Elisha Abbo, from ChannelsTV YouTube video — “Elisha Abbo Reacts To Alleged Assault Video.” [1]

On May 11, a Nigerian member of parliament, Ishaku Elisha Cliff Abbo, [2] 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 [3] 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.

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 [6] the senatorial seat by defeating the incumbent and only female contestant from northern Nigeria [7], Binta Garba, of the ruling party All Progressive Congress, in the general elections that took place earlier this year.

Read more: #NigeriaDecides2019: Everything you need to know for this year's general elections [8]

Abbo told [9] 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 [10] trending on Twitter.

Amnesty International has called on the Nigerian police to investigate the allegations.

Farroq Kperogi, Nigerian scholar and public intellectual, called on the Senate to suspend Abbo:

Other netizens expressed their anger:

Some used this moment to call for zero tolerance of gender-based violence:

Others took the time to critique the Nigerian police's response to the matter:

On July 3, Nigerians are protesting [30] Abbo's assault on the woman at the headquarters of the Nigerian police in Abuja.

Aisha Yesufu [31], 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.