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Alleged sexual misconduct: US envoy storms House Thursday with video evidence

By The Citizen
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Outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, is expected at the House of Representatives on Thursday, over sexual misconduct allegation against three lawmakers.

He is expected to meet the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, to provide video clips of the incident as investigative public hearing on the scandal begins that day.

The incident allegedly occurred during the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, between April 7 and April 13, attended by 10 members of the lower chamber.

Chairman of House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Honourable Nicholas Ossai, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the committee did not invite management of the hotel where the alleged misconduct occurred.

According to him, we decided not to extend invitation to the hotel management since the ambassador, who broke the information through a letter to the Speaker, had documentary evidence against the lawmakers.

The three lawmakers involved in the allegation are Mohammed Gololo, Samuel Ikon and Mark Gbillah. They allegedly solicited sex from prostitutes and grabbed hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape her.

Ossai said the committee had also invited Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

He said the committee did not carry out any secret investigation and urged anyone with useful information to submit same to the committee on or before commencement of the hearing.

'The standard in the US is that an accused is assumed innocent until proven guilty and that is the same standard in Nigeria. Anyone who has evidence can now see the committee,' Ossai said.

Dogara had, last month, expressed regrets over the trending report on the allegation against the three lawmakers, especially in the social media.

Dogara also vowed that the House would investigate the allegation, saying that 'together with the US Embassy in Nigeria, we will get to the bottom of this matter.'

He had pointed out that apart from the letter from the US ambassador, no evidence had been forwarded to his office, and that there could be no conviction without a trial.

NAN reported that the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges handling the investigation postponed the public hearing from Monday till Thursday to enable some members of the committee who travelled to perform their religious obligation in Mecca to return to Nigeria.