Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has ordered an investigation into the three House members accused of committing sexual misconduct while on an official visit to the United States.
This followed a petiton filed by the US ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.
According to New Telegraph, Entwistle alleged that three legislators – Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC – Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP – Akwa Ibom), and Mark Gbillah (APC – Benue) – on a recent visit to the United States for the International Visitor Leadership Program, brought disrepute to the parliament by soliciting for sex from prostitutes and grabbing an hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape her..
The House Committee on Media and Public Affairs Chairman, Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed this in Abuja saying:
“We are in receipt of a letter from the US ambassador alleging misconduct by some members of the National Assembly who attended a training program 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”
The US has formally withdrawn the visas from the the three affected lawmakers.
Part of Entwistle’s petition read:
“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: Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited her for sex”
“Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants assist them to solicit prostitutes.
“The U.S. Mission took pains to confirm these allegations and the identities of the individuals with the employees of the hotel in Cleveland.
“The conduct described above left a very negative impression of Nigeria, casting a shadow on Nigeria’s National Assembly, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and to the American hosts’ impression of Nigeria as a whole.
But, the affected lawmakers have denied all the allegations and threatened to sue the ambassador and the US government for character defamation and a calculated attempt to ridicule the National Assembly.
“This is an affront on the National Assembly and Nigeria, it appears they have ulterior motives. We are not going to take this lightly; we will take legal actions against the US government. It is a dent on our image.
“I went on the trip with my wife and baby and insisted that she stayed with me, but they told me the accommodation was meant for only participants. So, at Cleveland Renaissance where we were, opposite the Quicken Loan Arena, the Cleveland Cavalier Basketball team played a match and many people came to lodge at the same hotel, and they claimed that we spoke with car park attendants.
“We didn’t go with cars, so how could we have spoken with attendants?” He explained that the first time he heard about the allegations was a month after they returned from the US and went to represent the speaker at the farewell dinner for the Chinese ambassador.”
Gololo, who was accused of grabbing a housekeeper, was quoted as sqying:
“Let me, from the outset, express my shock and dismay at the contents of the letter generally and particularly affects me.
“These are totally false, unfounded and baseless allegations against me. I categorically deny any such incident happened, I never grabbed any housekeeper nor did I solicit for sex. I also take this issue very seriously not only because I am a honourable member representing a hallowed institution, but because of my integrity as a husband and father.”