Controversy yesterday trailed an alleged assault on the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi, pdp, ekiti South.
Initial reports had it that she was slapped by an official of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (pasan) in an elevator at the Senate wing of the National Assembly, Abuja.
The senator was on her way to the public hearing of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) over subsidy payment by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)between 2006 and 2016.
One of the eyewitnesses narrated that the senator who was about to board the elevator, queried the staff who was already in the elevator on why he would use the one reserved for lawmakers.
The eyewitness who was at the scene when the incident happened, claimed that the lawmaker instructed her police orderly to forcefully take the staff out of the elevator.
He said while both struggled, the police orderly slapped the PASAN official in the process. He said rather than retaliate, the official instead, slapped the senator, who was inside the elevator while the drama lasted.
The angry lawmaker, it was gathered, alighted from the elevator and was about to physically attack the staff, when his colleagues, prevailed on her and whisked him away.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Olujimi said she did not order her aide to slap the official. She claimed that the staff slapped her without any provocation.
She said she would take up the matter with the relevant authorities in the National Assembly and ensure that justice was done.
Investigations revealed that the said official was arrested by the National Assembly Police Division.
A senior police officer who, spoke to Daily Sun, however, declined to reveal the identity of the staff involved.
He said the senator immediately launched a formal complaint and that the official involved was thereafter invited for questioning. The officer said the culprit was still being questioned.
However, last night, Olujimi denied reports that she was slapped by a staff of the National Assembly, just as she insisted that at no time did she ask her aide to slap anybody.
She told journalists: “I went for a public hearing and I understood that there was another meeting upstairs so, I got into a lift.
“Yes it was a staff lift. I thought that everyone should be able to be in it and my security stood in front of me.
“Some gentlemen and women came in and were abusing, asking why he will shield anybody. One of them just pushed him and then they had altercation, I just came out and told them that it was wrong and that was what happened.”
When asked if she asked her aide to slap somebody, Olujimi said, “could I have done that, is it possible, how can I ask anybody to slap? The boy came, and they brought him and I told him he should go because he knew that he didn’t do well. You didn’t do well because you were the one that slapped him. I didn’t even say a word all through because I stood at the back.
“It wasn’t my business it was the business of the security man. Yes, I was in the staff lift. But what says we can’t go in staff lift? When I see people standing outside, in distinguished senators’ lift. I also told them to come in because I believe that is the way it should be. How could I have slapped anybody at my age, and level? That is not possible.”
When contacted last night, the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, did not pick his call.
He also did not respond to a text message on the matter.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Anjuguri Manzah, said he was not aware of the incident.