Sexual allegation: Dogara names committees to probe members •As accused lawmakers deny allegation, insist on proof

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, formally mandated  its Committee on Foreign Affairs and Ethics & Privileges to investigate alleged sexual misconduct levelled against three of its members, who attended an International Visitor Leadership Programme in the United States, recently.

Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, had, in a correspondence to the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, levelled an allegation of sexual misconduct against three members of the House, namely Honourable Mohammed Garba Gololo, Honourable Samuel Ikon and Honourable Mark Gbillah.

However, raising matter of privilege, one of the lawmakers, Honourable Gbillah said the allegation was a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the lawmakers and the hallowed chamber.

He said no such incident occurred as reported by the ambassador, insisting that the envoy should provide proof to support his allegation.

He, however, challenged the US ambassador to show proof that they actually committed what he alleged.

Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Honourable Nnenna Ukeje-Elendu, cautioned that the matter should be taken with utmost seriousness, so as not to jeopardise Nigeria-US relationship, adding that the investigation should be done in public and report made public.

Before naming the two committees that would probe the allegation, the Speaker said “the case is not about the three members alone. It is about all of us.”

In his remarks, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerians to tread with caution on the matter, until the persons involved were proven guilty.

He, therefore, referred the matter to the relevant committees “to be handled in line with international best practice’’

He also enjoined anyone who has anything that would help in the investigation  to approach the committees with evidence.