AS the House of Representatives Committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs begin investigation into alleged sex scandal levelled on three lawmakers, the outgoing US ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle is to provide video evidence against the indicted members. Nigerian Pilot recalls that on June 21, 2016, Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said the committees had been directed to investigate the allegation and assured that the House will implement the report to the fullest. Dogara hinted that the report would be made public and urged anybody who has proof to approach the committees. He pointed out that the allegation was a serious one, stressing that it was not about the three lawmakers alone, but the image of the House and Nigeria at large. “This is a serious matter and it is not about the three lawmakers alone nor the House as an institution. “I have directed the Committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs to investigate the matter before we take action. “Anybody who has any proof or evidence can direct them to the committee,” Dogara stated. The three accused lawmakers include: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi); Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue). Other lawmakers, who also participated in the International Visitor Leadership Programme are: Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi (PDP- Nasarawa); Danburam Abubakar Nuhu (APC-Kano); Nkole Uko Ndukwe (PDP- Abia); Rita Orji (PDP-Lagos) and Ayo Huliyat Omidiran (APC-Osun). Entwistle had in the petition to Dogara alleged that the actions of the three lawmakers at the International Visitor Leadership Programme in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, from 7th to 13th April, 2016, brought disrepute to the parliament by soliciting for sex from prostitutes and grabbing hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape. Our correspondent gathered yesterday that the joint committee had been unable to sit because some of the members of the two committees had travelled during the break. It was also learnt that the committee decided not to extend the invitation to 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 three accused members. Reacting on the incident, Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, Hon Osdai Ossai said that the committee decided not to invite the management of the hoteln where the alleged sex misconduct took place because it believed that the ambassador would come with all the necessary video evidence where the accused committed the action. He said that the committee did not carry out any secret investigation because the members involved in the allegation had demanded public investigative hearing for Nigerians to see their culpability or otherwise. As expected, the affected lawmakers had earlier denied all the allegations and threatened to sue the ambassador and the US government for “character defamation and a calculated attempt to ridicule the National Assembly.” In his letter to the speaker dated June 13, Gololo, who was accused of grabbing a housekeeper said: “Let me, from the outset, express my shock and dismay at the contents of the letter generally. “These are totally false, unfounded and baseless allegations against me. I categorically deny any such incident happened, I never grabbed any housekeeper nor did I solicit for sex. I also take this issue very seriously not only because I am a honourable member representing a hallowed institution, but because of my integrity as a husband and father. “How would my family and in-laws react to these wild and grave allegations? I demand an apology and retraction of these allegations or I shall not hesitate to engage the services of lawyers and not only to clear my name, but to seek redress for the damages done to my reputation. I insist that evidence of the allegations against me be produced”. Meanwhile, the Ossai Ossai led Committee on Ethics and Privileges has extended its invitation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema and National Human Rights Commissions, NHRC to attend the investigative session slated on Thursday this week.

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