The Nigerian Senate has said it cannot make public the outcome of its committee that investigated the Adamawa lawmaker, Elisha Abbo, who was caught on camera assaulting a woman in a sex toy shop in Abuja.
According to Premium Times, the Senate spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki, said this while speaking with journalists after plenary on Thursday.
He said, “I know vividly when that issue was brought to the plenary under matters of urgent importance, a senator raised an observation saying this issue is in a court of law. It’s not an issue we should disturb ourselves over.
“Please, I want to speak like a lawmaker. Once an issue is in a court of law, there is a limit for us to discuss it in the plenary.”
While Akwashiki rationalised the Senate’s delay in debating the report, section 88 of the Constitution, which empowers the National Assembly to investigate allegations of misconduct against members, gives no such restriction.
An investigation by the legislative arm, the section states, could be over the conduct of any “person, authority, or government body that has the duty of executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly.”
Although such investigations cannot be aimed to punish, the section states that it shall only be either to “make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws” or “expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence”.
Also, when a similar argument as Akwashiki’s was tabled by the chairman of the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the incident, Sam Egwu, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, faulted it.
“We invited our colleague and he made it clear to us that he was invited by the police and the case is already in court and therefore, it is sub judice.
"So, we want to wait until the court has taken their decision,” Egwu had said after his committee couldn’t meet the initial deadline set to submit their report.
Having given the committee an additional week to conclude its work, Lawan replied by saying the investigation by the House should be independent of other investigations since it is not a criminal case but one on misconduct.
“It is not our concern. We are not investigating criminal activities.
"We are investigating misconduct. The Senate is not investigating what the police is investigating,” Lawan explained. “We can give you more time but we can’t stop our activities because the matter is in court.”