Three members of House of Representatives accused of sexual misconduct while attending a leadership programme in the U.S. have demanded video evidence from the American government to prove the allegation.
They made the request during an investigative hearing on the allegations by the joint Committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs of the house in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mohammed Gololo (APC-Bauchi) was alleged to have sexually assaulted a housekeeper in his hotel room, while his colleagues, Mark Gbillah (APC-Benue) and Samuel Ikon (PDP-Akwa Ibom) were accused of soliciting for prostitutes.
Gololo, who was accused of grabbing a house keeper at the Marriot Hotel in Cleveland, described the allegation as spurious.
He demanded that the allegation should be retracted and apologies tendered by the US government if video evidence was not produced.
“I never grabbed any body and all through my stay in the hotel, I did not come in contact with any housekeeper.
So, I insist that the video evidence against me be produced not only to clear my name but to seek redress for the damages done to my reputation.
I am ready to go back to Cleveland at my expense to establish my innocence without prejudice to my right,” Gololo said.
He stated that during his stay in the hotel, there was no time he came in contact with any housekeeper and nobody informed him of any infraction whatsoever.
On his part, Gbillah also denied allegation against him and said that the U.S. government’s action on the matter was premeditated.
He said that reliance on evidence from employees of the hotel and confirmation of identities of the lawmakers in a group photograph was faulty.
According to him, the action did not comply with global norms that demanded fair hearing on such matter.
“We were not contacted by the US embassy to hear from us about what transpired at the hotel. This is the only evidence they admitted that they have contrary to all fallacious statements in the Nigerian media about them having video evidence.
I can then dare the US government today to produce the video evidence about something that does not exist. Some of us will not relent in this matter,” Gbillah said.
He added that the accused lawmakers suspended legal process on the matter in deference to the ongoing investigation.
“But, when you have concluded we are taking it up at whatever US department wants because it is my reputation and career and I will not take this lying low,” he said.
Ikom said that the US Ambassador’s letter that suggested that all parties were interrogated before arriving at an conclusion was misleading.
According to him, “Up till this moment, my views on this issue have not been sought; I have not been confronted with facts at their disposal”.
Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Hon. Nicholas Ossai, adopted the submissions of the lawmakers and adjourned the hearing to Thursday.
Ossai said that the adjournment was to take submissions from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who was absent at the investigative hearing because of his engagement at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.