The House of Representatives yesterday said it is probing allegation of sexual misconduct levelled against by some lawmakers during an official trip to Cleveland, Ohio, United States.
United States Ambassador James Entwistle, last week wrote House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, alleging improper conduct, attempted rape and soliciting for prostitutes, against some lawmakers on official trip to the U.S.
The ambassador alleged in the June 9 letter that three members of the House – Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi); Hon. Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Hon. Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) — while participating in the International Visitor Leadership Programme in the U.S., brought disrepute to the parliament by soliciting for sex from prostitutes. He alleged that Hon. Gololo grabbed a hotel housekeeper while requesting for sex.
However, the lawmakers denied it all and threatened to sue the ambassador and the U.S. government for “character defamation and a calculated attempt to ridicule the National Assembly.”
One of the affected members, former Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly,Hon. Samuel Ikon, said: “My attention has been drawn to the publication alleging an act of impropriety against me by the U.S. mission in Nigeria. I wish to state unequivocally that this is false and definitely not me.
“This to me, is a case of mistaken identity and I have already instituted measures both legally and diplomatically to clear my name and the institution I represent. I call for patience and God’s abiding wisdom at this time.”
Spokesman of the House, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas, told reporters yesterday that it remains an accusation until proven otherwise.
But he said the House had commenced investigation to ascertain the true state of things.
“Ten members went to Ohio in USA on a leadership programme and returned successfully. We recently received a letter from the U.S. ambassador that there was misconduct by some of the members on the trip.
“While we investigate the matter, it remains an allegation”, he said.
Meanwhile investigations had shown that the United States Embassy had cancelled the visas of the affected members.