The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the N50million damages awarded against Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo (Adamawa North) by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for assaulting a woman.
Recall that the Senator assaulted Ms. Osimibibra Warmate at a sex toy shop in Abuja in 2019.
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 filed by Ms Warmate.
Justice Bature had, among others, held that Abbo’s violent attack on Ms. Warmate on May 11, 2019, in a sex toy 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.
In a judgment, a three-member panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Jamilu Tukur, dismissed Abbo’s appeal which he filed against the judgment given on September 29, 2020, 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 Warmate’s case and awarding N50m in damages against the Senator.
It rejected Abbo’s argument that the suit was not properly commenced at the trial court and that he was denied a fair hearing.
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However, in the judgment delivered on Tuesday, the appellate Court 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 and in favour of Ms. Warmate.
Justices Tukur, James Abundaga and Danlami Senchi, who were on the panel, unanimously held 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, held that from the evidence presented before the trial court, Warmate sufficiently proved that Senator Abbo violated her fundamental right to human dignity.
“The decision of the trial court in the award of N50m 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.
“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,” Justice Senchi stated.