Senator Elisha Abbo, the lawmaker representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, has been mandated by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, to pay N50 million damages awarded by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory for assaulting a woman, Ms. Osimibibra Warmate, in a intimacy gadget shop in Abuja, in 2019.
The three-member panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Jamilu Tukur, in a judgment, dismissed Abbo’s appeal, which he filed against the judgment given on September 29, 2020, by Justice Samira Bature on a fundamental rights enforcement suit by Ms. Warmate.
The court, which affirmed the judgment of the High Court of the FCT, held that Justice Bature was right in upholding Ms. Warmate’s case and awarding N50 million in damages against the Senator.
It rejected Senator Abbo’s argument that the suit was not properly commenced at the trial court and that he was denied a fair hearing.
The court, in the judgment delivered on Tuesday, equally rejected Abbo’s argument that Ms. Warmate’s claim that he slapped her, pulled her hair and dragged her out of the shop did not amount to rights violation, but a case of simple assault.
While describing Abbo’s conduct as sufficiently outrageous, the court resolved all five issues identified for determination against the Senator and further awarded N500,000 cost against him in favour of Ms. Warmate.
Justices Tukur, James Abundaga and Danlami Senchi (who were on the panel) were unanimous in holding that the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/945/2020 was without merit and proceeded to dismiss it.
Justice Senchi, who authored and read the lead judgment on Tuesday, held that from the evidence presented before the trial court, Ms Warmate sufficiently proved that Senator Abbo violated her fundamental right to human dignity.
“The decision of the trial court in the award of N50 million against the appellant and in favour of the respondent was proper,” Justice Senchi said.
He added that going by the quality of evidence presented by Ms Warmate, including a medical report and video recordings of the incident, the decision of the trial court could not be tampered with.
Justice Senchi added: “The conduct of the appellant is sufficiently outrageous to merit the punishment as the facts of the case disclosed flagrant disobedience of the law, especially that the appellant is an elected Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Senator Abbo’s appeal was against the September 28 judgment by Justice Samira Bature of the High Court of the FCT, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/2393/2019, which was filed by Ms Warmate.
Justice Bature had, among others, held that Senator Abbo’s violent attack on Ms. Warmate on May 11, 2019, in a intimacy gadget shop at New Bannex Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, which constituted a breach of her fundamental right to the dignity of her person guaranteed under Section 34 of the Constitution.