Senator Abbo appeared before the committee that was set up by the Senate to investigate his alleged assault on a woman at a toy shop. The committe is chaired by Senator Sam Egwu (who is a former governor and former minister).
However, a faceoff ensued when Senator Abbo told that committee to tell journalists to leave the room.
Here’s a transcript of what happened.
Senator Sam Egwu: “We have finished listening to you talk to the whole word. We have listened to you, the whole world has heard you on television and everywhere. So what’s the difference? You are just making a statement here. Even if it is one sentence, say what you have to say.”
Senator Abbo: “I will not . . .”
Mrs Tinubu: “Ok, you see, distinguished. Mr Chairman sir” (Senator Egwu nods).
“Distinguish, we want to tell you. . . You are just joining us. We have a procedure and we are also under law. What we are doing, we are doing as a legislature. You don’t come in here when we invite you, despite that you are our colleague, you are on the other side now.
Everybody requires a fair hearing. What is going on with you affects us as a body. Alright? That is why the senate president constituted this committee and you can see the level and integrity of the people under here.
You don’t come in here and dictate to us the procedures that we are supposed to do” (Senator Egwu says “adopt” ). “Adopt. And that is, you don’t dictate to us because you undermine us by even trying to do that.
You haven’t even listened to us. Even if we are going beyond what you expect, you can stop us, but you don’t come on the other side and start dictating to us.
Do you want us to protect you or do you want us to defend you or you want to be on your own?”
Senator Abbo is trying to interrupt by saying, “Distinguished. Distinguished ma”.
Senator Tinubu: “Because do you realise that the Senate. . . Off that mic and let me finish. Do you realise that the Senate, when we constitute this, whatever the law gives, we can also suspend you? Do you realise that?”
Senator Egwu wants to interrupt, but Senator Tinubu says, “No sir”.
“You don’t come here on camera. . .”
Senator Abbo interrupts: “I will not sit here and you threaten me with suspension”.
Senator Tinubu says: “We are not threatening you!”
Senator Tinubu says, “With all due respect” but Senator Abbo interrupts:
“With all due respect, you are my colleague, you are a senator like me and you cannot threaten me with suspension. I take exception ma”
Senator Tinubu is speaking in the background:
“Off that mic. You are digging a hole for yourself. I’m also another woman. Better be careful.”
Senator Egwu interrupts and addresses Senator Abbo:
“Excuse me. Distinguished, why are you behaving this way? This behaviour is not expected of you. There are about how many of us senators here and even if you take offence at what we say, listen and keep quiet. You have to address the chair. Please”.
Senator Abbo says: “Mr chairman, is it out of place if I ask that I am not addressing camera, I am not addressing pressmen, after I have been taken to court? Correct me if I am wrong.”
Senator Egwu: “If you have any objection to what we say, you’ll at least hear our general comment on it.”
Another senator says: “We take that decision on it, on what you’ve just said. You wait”.
Senator Tinubu says: “You didn’t even wait for us to talk before saying that this is the method that you want us to adopt. You didn’t even wait”
Another senator asks Senator Abbo to tell the committee why he came before the committee, so Senator Abbo explains how he was invited by the Senate and the police, etc. He then says that the matter is in court and he doesn’t want to say his side of the story on camera and then the media will “take it out”.
Senator Tinubu said that what he just said is what they expected him to say initially, rather than trying to dictate to the committee the modalities that it should use.
She says that they have respectable people in the committee, including a former governor and they know what to do.
Another senator appeals that the hearing should be conducted in a close session. He says that the alleged victim did not appear because she believes that the matter is subjudice and so it will be better to have a closed session.
After a long discussion, Senator Egwu asks the media to leave.