The House of Representatives’ joint committee on ethics and privileges and foreign affairs investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against three members of the House has invited the United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, to appear before it on Thursday, July 14.
The committee, which commences sitting on Thursday, two weeks after it was mandated to carry out the assignment, also invited the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the three lawmakers alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct.
It was New Telegraph that exclusively broke the story of the sex scandal. Chairman of the joint committee, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, who disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja, said the investigative hearing will be conducted in the open at Hearing Room 028 at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
Ossai had earlier hinted that the committee was working assiduously to put logistics in place for successful conduct of the exercise. He explained that the delay in the commencement of the investigation was due to the absence of some members of the committee, who were on lesser Hajj to Saudi Arabia. He said: “For now, the ethics and privileges committee is working behind the scene to ensure that it conducts a successful investigation into the matter in line with the mandate given to it.”
Recall that following allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against some members of the House by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, the leadership had, on June 16, mandated the joint committee to investigate the veracity or otherwise of the allegations. While Ossai chairs the Ethics and Privileges Committee, Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (PDP, Abia) chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Both committees have resolved to commence investigation into the matter. The Ambassador had, in a letter dated June 9, alleged that three members of the House namely: Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Hon. Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Hon. Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) had, on a recent visit to US for the International Visitor Leadership Programme, brought disrepute to the parliament by allegedly soliciting for sex from prostitutes and grabbing an hotel housekeeper.
Ten lawmakers were invited by the US Govern ment for the conference held in Cleveland, Ohio. Entwistle’s letter reads: “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 this, the U.S. Government’s flagship professional exchange programme“The U.S. Department of State and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs received reports from employees of the Cleveland hotel where the representatives stayed, alleging the representatives engaged in the following behaviour.” According to the Ambassador, “Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited for sex from her.
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 hotel parking attendants to assist them to solicit for prostitutes.”