News Punch yesterday reported that the American ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle petitioned the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara over alleged attempted rape and soliciting for prostitutes by three House of Representatives lawmakers who traveled to the United State on official assignment, the identities of the legislators has been discovered.
They are; Mr. Mohammed Garba-Gololo (Bauchi State); Mr. Terse Gbillah (Benue State), and Mr. Samuel Ikon (Cross River State), according to Punch Newspaper.
lodged at Cleveland hotel where two of the lawmakers met with the hotel's parking lot attendants and asked for links to prostitutes that would spend the night with them while one of them allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in the hotel room, demanding for sex.
According to the petition, the housekeeper and parking lot attendants reported to the hotel management who then filed a complaint at the US Mission who investigated the allegations.
Their travel visas to the United States have been confirmed canceled.
The said offenses were allegedly committed during a recent trip to the US to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on Good Governance organised by the US Government.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, directed the investigation of three members of the House for an alleged sex scandal.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed this in Abuja just as investigations had shown that the United States Embassy had cancelled the visas of the affected members.
Namdas explained that the leadership of the House decided to investigate the alleged sex scandal following a formal complaint made by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle.
He said, “We are in receipt of a letter from the US Ambassador, alleging misconduct by some members of the National Assembly, who attended training in the United States of America.
“The leadership of the House has commenced its own part of the investigation. When it is concluded, we will brief Nigerians further on this issue.”
Namdas, however, declined questions on how the investigation would be conducted.
“When we say we will conduct an investigation, we will conduct it and there will be a report,” Namdas stated.
The development came as the US formally cancelled its visas from the three lawmakers, an indication that they had been barred from future trips to the United States.
The speaker came under pressure from many lawmakers, who felt that the matter could tarnish the image of the National Assembly if it was not attended to, Punch Newspaper further says
The three legislators were members of a team of 10 lawmakers nominated to attend the leadership programme, which took place in Cleveland, Ohio, between April 7 and 13 this year.
Entwistle, in his June 9 letter to Dogara, stated, “It is with regret that I must bring to your attention the following situation.
“Ten members of the Nigerian National Assembly recently travelled to Cleveland, Ohio, as participants in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on good governance.
“We received troubling allegations regarding the behaviour of three members of the delegation to the US Government’s flagship professional exchange programme.
“The US Department of State and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs received reports from employees of the Cleveland hotel, where the representatives stayed, alleging that the representatives engaged in the following behaviour:
“Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited her for sex. While the housekeeper reported this to her management, this incident could have involved local law enforcement and resulted in legal consequences for Representative Gololo.
“Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested that hotel parking attendants assist them to solicit prostitutes.”
Finding showed that the lawmakers dismissed the allegation as “baseless and untrue” when Dogara first sought their explanations.
However, he was said to have come under pressure from members, who insisted on a thorough investigation, considering the fact that the Ambassador committed it to writing.
A National Assembly source stated, “The speaker came under pressure because many members are not satisfied with the responses of the affected persons.
Another source stated, “Of course, the members have threatened legal actions and have requested video evidence from the US Ambassador since the housekeeper was said to have identified Garba-Gololo in a group photograph.
“Members felt that the House should thoroughly investigate the allegation to establish the correct position. The 8th Assembly passed a Code of Conduct to members of the House in 2015.
“This is one of the test cases and it is important that we clear this issue.”
Some of the members, who participated in the programme were Chairman, House Committee on the Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Rita Orji; Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Gaza Jonathan; Mrs. Ayo Omidiran; Mr. Danburam Abubakar; and Mr. Nkole Ndukwe.
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Credit: Punch Newspaper