Reps invite Foreign Affairs Minister, lawmakers over sex scandals

Ahead of thNational-house-of-Assemblee public hear­ing on the sex scandal in­volving three lawmakers, the House of Representatives has invited the Foreign Affairs Min­ister, Geoffrey Onyema, repre­sentatives of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and another seven members of the Lower Chamber to appear before it.
On his part, the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, will meet with the outgoing United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwist­le, for more facts on the scandal.
Dogara’s meeting with the envoy will hold on Thursday.
Entwistle had in a petition to the House leadership accused three lawmakers: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC-Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP-Akwa Ibom), and Mark Gbillah (APC-Benue) of soliciting for sex from pros­titutes and grabbing a hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape her when they attended the In­ternational Visitor Leadership Programme in Cleveland, Ohio, USA between April 7 and April 13, 2016.
During Dogara’s visit, En­twistle is expected to provide video clips of the incident.
Newsmen  gath­ered that the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta), which is probing the incident, resolved not to invite the hotel management as the Ambassa­dor who broke the information through a letter to the Speaker, was expected to have all the doc­umentary evidence against the accused lawmakers.
Other lawmakers who at­tended the Leadership Pro­gramme are Jonathan Gaza (PDP-Nasarawa); Danburam Nuhu (APC-Kano); Nkole Ndukwe (PDP-Abia); Rita Orji (PDP-Lagos) and Ayo Omidiran (APC-Osun) are also expected to testify before the Committee.
Ossai told newsmen that the committee will not carry out any secret investiga­tion, urging anyone with use­ful information to present it to the panel on or before the com­mencement of the public hear­ing.
He said: “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 see the committee.”
Last month, Dogara had ex­pressed regrets over the allega­tions of sexual misconduct lev­elled against three members of the House by the US.
Through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Tu­raki Hassan, the Speaker urged Nigerians to refrain from pass­ing judgment and wait for the outcome of investigations by the House.
It was learnt that the House Committee postponed the hear­ing initially slated for Monday to enable some of the members of the panel who travelled to Sau­di Arabia during the Ramadan to return home.
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