By Ikenna Uwadileke
Three members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Mohammed Gololo (AP-Bauchi); Mark Gbillah (APC-Benue) and Samuel Ikom (PDP-Akwa Ibom), accused of sexual misconduct while on a trip to the United States’ authorities, have been exonerated.
The Ethics and Privileges Committee passed the verdict on Tuesday in a report submitted to the House.
The lawmakers were accused by the former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle of sexually assaulting a house keeper and soliciting for sex while attending the International Visitors Leadership Programme in Cleveland, Ohio.
However, Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Rep. Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) while presenting the report said that the lawmakers were cleared for want of evidence.
“Rep. Mohammed Gololo, Rep. Mark Gbillah and Rep. Samuel Ikom are cleared of and exonerated from the allegations leveled against them by the US Ambassador to Nigeria in his June 9, 2016 letter to Speaker for want of evidence.
“In the light of the foregoing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs should engage the US Ambassador to Nigeria with a view to finding a seamless resolution of the domestic fall out of this unfortunate incident as it relates to the lawmakers,’’ Ossai said.
He further urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write to remind the US Embassy of the need to always adopt the official channel of communications in its dealing with any organ or institution of government.
The incident allegedly occurred in a hotel during the International Visitor Leadership Programme in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. held between April 7 and April 13. It was attended by 10 members of the lower chamber.
When the House ordered a probe in July, the US ambassador was expected to provide video evidence.
But it was not clear whether he eventually did so.
Chairman of House Committee on Ethics, Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) then in Abuja that the committee did not invite management of the hotel where the alleged misconduct occurred.