The House of Representatives said it had commenced investigation into the allegation of sexual misconduct levelled against three of its members while attending an international leadership training programme in the U.S.
Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, stated this on Thursday in Abuja while briefing newsmen.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN),reports that 10 lawmakers were invited by the U.S. government for International Visitor Leadership Programme, held between April 7th and 13th 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle in a letter dated June 9, 2016, informed Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara of his country’s concern on the development.
The letter alleged that three members, Hon. Mohammed Gololo (Bauchi), Hon. Samuel Ikon (Akwa Ibom) and Hon. Mark Gbillah (Benue), during the visit acted wrongly.
The letter alleged that they solicited for sex from prostitutes, and grabbed a hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape her.
Entwhistle in the letter stated in part:
We received troubling allegations regarding the behaviour of three members of the delegation to 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.
Mohammed Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited 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 Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants to assist them solicit for prostitutes.
Namdas who described the reported incident as an allegation, stated that nobody had been convicted on the matter.
“None of them is before a court of law; once an allegation, it remains an allegation. We have to do our own investigation,” he added.
Confirming receipt of the letter from the U.S. ambassador, Namdas said “we have the letter in our possession”.
We have our own laws; we have our rules so we are doing our own investigations. When the investigation is completed, we will make it public,” Namdas said.
Responding to the allegation, one of the accused lawmakers, Gbillah said that the accused individuals were not accosted with the allegations while in the U.S. so they could immediately defend themselves.
In a statement, he, however, said that he would be instituting legal action against the U.S. embassy on the matter.
“The hotel employees conveniently refrained from making these allegations while the members of the group where in the United States and curiously decided to do so after our departure.
Considering the psychological trauma, irredeemable defamation of my character, reputation and incalculable damage to my political career, I intend to take some actions.
I will institute legal action in the United States against the Marriot Hotel Brand, the Cleveland Council of World Affairs, the U.S. State Department and U.S. Embassy in Nigeria requesting for damages, comprehensive investigation of these allegations to exonerate myself and a formal globally publicised apology,” the statement said.