The House of Representatives has been hit by a sex scandal. At the centre of the saga are three members of the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly. They allegedly attempted rape and solicited for sex from prostitutes in the United States of America (USA). A disturbed US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, reported the lawmakers’ misdeeds to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, through a petition. Shocked by the development, the leadership of the House hinted of the plan to investigate the alleged sexual misconduct levelled against the members by the US. Of the 10 Nigerian lawmakers invited to the International Visitor Leadership Programme held between April 7 and 13, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, three of them: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC-Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP-Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC-Benue) were accused of soliciting for sex and attempted rape.
In his petition, Entwistle said that the action of the lawmakers brought disrepute to the parliament because they were soliciting for sex from prostitutes and grabbing a hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape her. “Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited her for sex. While the housekeeper reported this to her management, this incident could have involved local law enforcement and resulted in legal consequences for Hon. Gololo. “Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested the hotel parking attendants to assist them to solicit prostitutes,” the petition read in part. Some of the accused lawmakers however denied the allegations and described the US petition as “character defamation and a calculated attempt to ridicule the National Assembly.” While speaking on the House position, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, confirmed the receipt of a letter from the US envoy to Dogara.
He said that as a responsible parliament, the leadership of the House has begun investigating the matter, adding that the outcome of the probe would be made known in due time. Namdas said: “We are in receipt of a letter from the Ambas- sador of the United States to Nigeria where he alleged that there is a misconduct by some members of the National Assembly that attended a programme. “However, as a responsible parliament, the leadership has received these letters and is doing its own investigation and it remains an allegation. “We have our rules and laws; when investigations are concluded, we will brief you fur- ther on the issue but for now, this is what I have to tell you,” Namdas said. While responding to the allegation, Samuel Ikon said: “My attention has been drawn to the publication alleging an act of impropriety against me by the US 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 diplomat ically to clear my name and the institution I represent,” he said in a statement.
While responding to the media report on the crisis trailing the purchase of the Peugeot 508 and 2016 Prado Jeeps for lawmakers as well as the protest for the removal of Abdulmumin Jibrin, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, over alleged padding of the 2016 Budget, which were discussed during a closed-door session on Wednesday, Namdas who dismissed the report, said that details of the meeting will be made public at the appropriate time. “I have been reading reports on our closed-door session; they are not a true reflection of what has actually happened at the session. “We will make it available, that is why we have a weekly press briefing on whatever we discuss and it’s necessary to disclose it, we will let you know, “he added.