Embattled Senator Ishiaku Abbo (PDP-Adamawa) on Tuesday asked members of the Senate investigative panel hearing his alleged case of assault on a nursing mother not to threaten him with suspension.
The senator spoke when he appeared before the six-man panel set up by the Senate to investigate him.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, set up the panel which is headed by Sen. Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi) on July 3.
Abbo, who appeared before his colleagues at exactly 3.15 p.m., told them that the matter was already before the court; hence he would not make comments that could amount to prejudice of the court process.
He also refused to allow the clerk of the panel to put him on oath, as usual.
Drama started when he stated he had no business appearing and making comments about the matter anywhere, saying his presence was out of honour for his colleagues.
A member of the panel, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos), expressed displeasure over Abbo’s comments.
She 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 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.”
She added, “We are trying to protect the Senate and hear from you, but we can also suspend you because of your attitude.”
At this point, Abbo flared up and said he won’t allow the committee to threaten him with suspension, having earlier informed it that the matter is before a court.
“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. 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.
After some arguments, the chairman urged all parties to remain calm.
Another member of the panel, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (APC-Edo) urged his colleagues to hear Abbo off camera.
The chairman of the panel said though the matter was already in the public domain, he excused members of the press out of the venue.
Earlier, counsel for the victim of the alleged assault sent a team of lawyers led by Mr Chukwuma Okoroafor to submit a letter before the panel.
Okoroafor said the victim was in a hospital in Abuja, hence her inability to appear in person.
The panel, however, insisted that he should present the victim within the next one week to allow it submit its report to the Senate.