By Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously resolved to open investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against three of their colleagues by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.
The Committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs have been mandated to investigate the allegations.
In a petition to the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Entwistle had accused Hon. Mark Gbillah, Hon. Samuel Ikon and Hon. Garba Gololo of solicitation for sex while on a recent trip to Cleveland, Ohio for the International Visitors Leadership Program.
Gololo had allegedly grabbed the housekeeper who was cleaning his hotel room and solicited her for sex while Gbillah and Ikon allegedly asked hotel parking attendants to assist them find prostitutes.
One of the accused members, Gbillah, raised the point of “privilege”, quoting Order six (20)(22) of the House’ rules normally present the matter on the floor.
He lamented that the matter has besieged the news for several days, tarnishing the image of the three men.
“I stand before you here to say categorically that no such incident occurred. I want it on record that we (three) will bear this cross fully,” he said.
“It is a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the House and Nigeria. I love my wife and I have never cheated on her. I have eyes only for my wife and I have always travelled with my wife and child. I was with them on the said trip,” Gbillah said.
He called for the immediate constitution of a committee to investigate the allegations.
“We demand that justice should be done in this case and we will not relent in our efforts until this investigation is concluded and the report is released to the public”, he said.
Dogara described the allegation as serious and expressed worry that many Nigerians have already decided the accused lawmakers are guilty, without considering the implications for the entire nation.
Pronouncing them guilty without trial, buys into the trend where Nigerians are considered dubious, Dogara warned.
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