The House of Representatives on Thursday summoned the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Mr. Peter Ekpendu, and Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau(retd.), over an alleged assault on a female member of the House, Onyemaechi Mrakpor.
Also summoned to appear before the committee are the security agencies within the National Assembly, such as Department of State Service, DSS; Nigeria Police; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC; Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, and Sergeant-at-Arms, who were said to be watching when the alleged assault took place in the presence of the Prisons Comptroller-General.
The incident took place on Wednesday close to the exit gate of the National Assembly, when the female lawmaker from Delta State, was driving out of the premises.
According to Vanguard, Mrakpor was said to have been slapped by an officer in the convoy of the CGP for allegedly not giving way to the convoy of the CGP who had come to the National Assembly on invitation by the Uzoma Nkem-Abonta-led Public Petition Committee over allegation of fraud against him by an officer.
It was gathered that when the vehicle of the lawmaker overtook the CGP’s convoy, she was flagged down and as she stopped and wound down the vehicle glass to know what was the issue, the aide allegedly slapped her in front of the CGP who was said to be inside his vehicle watching as his aides pummeled the female member doing nothing to stop his aides.
A motion on the incident, which was moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor, was unanimously endorsed by members at Thursday’s session, presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
The House noted, “The member was battered under the watch of the CG of Prisons. Her offence was that she overtook the convoy of the CG within the premises of the National Assembly.
“The CG of Prisons is invited to explain why he should not be committed to prison in violation of Section 16 of the Legislative Houses, Powers and Privileges Act.”
The law stipulates a penalty of N400,000 fine or a prison term of six months on conviction for an attack on a legislator within the premises of a legislative house.
The resolution was later amended to include Danbazzau, who was asked to appear before the House Committee on Interior seeing as his ministry supervises the Nigerian Prisons Service.
The committee, which is chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kaduna State, Mr. Adams Jagaba, is to produce a report on Tuesday next week.
Contributing to the motion, House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, while contributing to the debate, informed the House that Mrukpor called him immediately the alleged assault took place to make a report.
“She called me and she was crying. I have not seen a thing like this before.
“This is the time we need to rally behind her not just as a member but as a woman.
“This is a clear, straight case; that the attacker is guilty of assault. He is guilty of battery. There is vicarious liability in this case,” Gbajabiamila added.
Also, Nnena Elendu Ukeje, representing Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State, said what happened to the lawmaker was a typical example of what women and the entire Nigerians pass through in the hands of those in uniform.
The House mandated the committee to expedite action on the investigation so as to submit its report on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, even as it called for the immediate sack of the CGP, despite its resolution to give him fair hearing.
Speaking to Vanguard on her ordeal, Mrakpor explained that she was going for mid-week service at about 4 pm, adding that because there were two lanes, she decided to overtake three green vehicles. She said as her vehicle overtook the convoy, some of the vehicles in the convoy moved to her right side and told her she was supposed to give way for the convoy of the CGP.
According to her, “initially, I thought that my vehicle hit them, then I just wound down to apologise. When they saw it was a woman, they called me a useless prostitute, don’t you know that this is the convoy of the Comptroller General of Prisons.”
She said there was no single altercation between her and the CGP’s aides before they descended on her, adding that the matter, which lasted between 10 and 15 minutes, might have been a result of transferred aggression over the petition against him by an officer with Nigeria Prisons Service.
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