When the House of Representatives resumes sitting this week, it will debate the allegations of sexual misconduct against three of its members by the United States, according to the speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara. The speaker however said that the men are innocent until proven guilty.
In a letter which the US ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, wrote to Dogara, the United States accused the men – Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo (Bauchi,APC), Hon. Samuel Ikon (Akwa-Ibom,APC) and Hon Mark Gbillah (Benue,APC) – of soliciting for prostitutes and an attempt to grope a hotel maid while they attended the United States International Visitors Leadership Program in Cleveland, Ohio.
The three men have denied the allegations and even though they have issued statements, they intend to brief the press on Monday.
Dogara yesterday evening on Twitter said if there was no evidence, no action would be taken against the accused lawmakers
The Speaker said: “We closed that discussion yesterday. We await the evidence before any action is taken in line with our laws.”
The Chairperson, House Committee on Foreign Affairs Hon. Nnena Elendu Ukeje, on her part, said the scandal should not sour the relationship between Nigeria and the United States.
Ukeje said: “We will deal with the matter institutionally in such a way that controls the domestic fallout of this weighty allegation and ensure a continued cordial relationship between the institution and the people and the government of the United States, and the two democratic nations.
“As the Speaker has said, the House shall carry out its own investigations into the matter. It is an institutional thing between the legislature of the republic of Nigeria and the government of United States.
“The initial intendment was an exchange programme to help deepen our democratic practices. We will have this investigation so as to mitigate the domestic fallout so,it does not jeopardise the relationship that parliament has with the United States.”