A viral video of a Nigerian Senator caught by a surveillance camera physically assaulting a nursing mother has sparked off a protest in the West African country.
Senator Elisha Abbo, who is in the centre of the controversy, has acknowledged the video but insisted the incident took place before he became a public official.
In the CCTV footage recorded in the evening of March 11, Abbo, known as the youngest member of the Nigerian Senate, was caught severely hitting the young woman and dragging her out of a sex toy shop in the Nigerian capital Abuja with the assistance of a policeman.
Reacting to the trending video on Nigeria’s social media since Tuesday afternoon, citizens across the country launched a protest pressing for the lawmaker’s arrest on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, a petition was submitted at the office of the Nigerian police chief in Abuja, while another peaceful protest was held in the city centre calling for the senator’s recall.
Many public figures in Nigeria, as well as lawyers, have also condemned the act in strong terms, most of them describing it as “violence against women”.
Lauretta Onochie, a media aide of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, called on the police to do the needful by arresting the accused public official. “Serving Nigerian Senator Elisha Abbo assaults a female staff in an adult toy shop with a police officer watching. What I don’t understand is why Nigerians are calling on him to step down.
How does stepping down help? We should be calling on the Nigerian police to arrest and prosecute him,” the presidential aide wrote on her verified Twitter handle.
Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president of Nigeria and the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in this year’s general elections, condemned the actions of the senator in a statement released here.
“The video is sad, inexcusable. I know the senator quite well,” Abubakar said, urging the lawmaker to publicly apologise for his actions.
The former vice president also called on the leadership of the opposition PDP to take necessary action against the senator, who is a member of the political group. “But the law is clear and leaders must lead by example. –Xinhua