Sexual allegation: We’re innocent —Accused Reps

THREE members of the House of Representatives accused of sexual misconduct, on Wednesday, maintained their innocence against the allegation levelled against them.

They also threatened to commence legal battle against the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle.

This came just as the chairman of the joint committee probing the allegation, Honourable Ossai Nicholas and the co-chairman, Honourable Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, expressed displeasure over failure of both the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the outgoing US Ambassador, Mr Entwistle, to appear before the committee.

The minister had, however, written the committee that he would not be able to attend the hearing because of Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

The accused lawmakers alleged that with the way the events turned out to be, aftermath their sponsored trip to the United States, it appeared that there was a pre-determined motive for selecting the 10 lawmakers who went for the leadership programme.

According to the lawmakers, they later learnt that their invitation did not pass through proper diplomatic channel.

The three accused lawmakers were Honourables Mark Gbillah, Samuel Ikon and Mohammed Gololo.

They were among the 10 lawmakers selected to attend the International Visitors Leadership Training Programme held between April 2 to April 13, 2016 in Cleveland Ohio, United States.

Addressing the committee, Honourable  Gololo denied his involvement in the alleged sex scandal, while describing it as a weighty and unsubstantiated allegation against him by the US envoy to Nigeria.

He also maintained that he never met let alone discuss with any hotel attendant in the course of any official visit to the US.

According to him, at no time during the US visit did any lady hotel attendant enter into the Reniassance Mariot Hotel in Cleaveland Ohio, where he and nine other lawmakers were lodged.

On his part,  Honourable Gbillah, who betrayed emotion while giving his testimony, said he never at any time during the visit engaged with a car park attendant in a hotel to arrange a prostitute for him, even as he described the allegation as baseless.

He threatened to sue the US Embassy in a law court and claim damages over the allegation.

The third accused lawmaker, Honourable Ikon, also said he was not involved in any discussion with any hotel car park attendant during the visit.

He added that his health condition at that time could not have allowed for such randy behaviour as soliciting for sex and also threatened to sue the US authorities over the matter.

The committee, after listening to their testimonies, adjourned sitting till today.