Ahead of the 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.