You probably already heard that the magistrate court in Zuba has dismissed the case of an alleged assault against Adamawa-North lawmaker Elisha Abbo, after a video showing him assaulting a woman, Osimibibra Warmate, on May 11, 2019, went viral.
Punch reported that the magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, upheld a no-case submission filed by Senator Abbo, and said that the police failed to prove that the lawmaker assaulted Warmate beyond reasonable doubt, despite the viral video and two witnesses who testified against Abbo – Warmate, who was the nominal complainant, and a police officer, ASP Mary Daniel, who investigated the matter.
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).
And Nigerians are, well, confused.
The video of the alleged assault has literally gone viral, they say. So how is it that the court says there’s no evidence? Also, what about the public apology the senator tendered?
Well, the court 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 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:
Our judicial system is a joke.. can’t you see how politicians toy with it?
Avoid police, court and public services if you want to live long in Nigeria
— Bamikefa Adeleye (@fadelex) 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.
— OJOAYO AMAO (@AYDGENIUS) August 1, 2020
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