By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA — The House of Representatives, yesterday, summoned the Comptroller-General of Prisons, Peter Ezenwa Ekpendu, and the Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Dambazau, to appear before its Committee on Interior over assault on a female lawmaker, Onyemaechi Mrakpor, within the National Assembly complex.
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 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.
How it happened
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 the assault.
The House in its resolution on a motion of urgent public importance, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said the action of the CGP, who is expected to commence terminal leave in a few days, was tantamount to assault, battery, inflicting of bodily harm as well as violation of the right of the woman.
The Minority Leader, whose point of order was on issue of privilege, said the assault of the member was in breach of Section 16 of the House rules.
Ogor described the scenario as embarrassing to the National Assembly and that in the spirit of fair hearing, the CGP should be invited to explain why he should not be relieved of his duty.
Contributing to the motion, the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Mrakpor, who represents Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State, was crying when she called to inform him of the incident.
He said: “This is the time we need to rally behind her not just because she is a member but because she is a human being and a woman.
“I am not interested in the issue of fair hearing. The man, as far as I am concerned, is guilty of assault, battery, bodily harm and violence against women.”
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.
Speaking to Vanguard, 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.