•Seeks Foreign Affairs Ministry mediation with US
From Kemi Yesufu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has cleared the three members accused of sexual misconduct by former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.
Entwistle had, in a June 9, 2016 letter to Speaker Yakubu Dogara, accused Mark Gbillah, Samuel Ikon and Mohammed Gololo, who participated in the International Visitors Leadership programme sponsored by the US government in Cleveland, Ohio, in April, of sexual misconduct.
Specifically, the former envoy accused Gbillah and Samuel Ikon of seeking assistance to procure the services of commercial sex workers, while he alleged that Gololo grabbed at a housekeeper in the hotel they were lodged in. All three lawmakers insisted on their innocence even as Gbillah, at June 21 plenary, moved a motion for the House to conduct an open probe on the matter.
By yesterday’s adoption of the report from the Joint Committee of Foreign Relations and Ethics and Privileges, constituted to investigate the allegations, all three lawmakers have been cleared of wrongdoing.
Presenting the joint committee’s report, Chairman of the Ethics and Privileges Committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai said the lawmakers were exonerated due to lack of evidence against them.
Entwistle did not appear before the committee just as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje advised on adoption of the submission from the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema who met with Entwistle as the former envoy is protected by the Vienna Convention which grants ambassadors diplomatic immunity.
Onyeama told lawmakers he questioned Entwistle who said the woman who accused Gololo of grabbing at her and the park attendants who claimed they were asked to procure services of call-girls were unwilling to testify against the lawmakers.
The minister said Entwistle also told him the lawmakers were identified from a group photograph even as he apologised for breaking official channel of communication by writing to Dogara directly. The report reads in part: “That, Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo, Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah and Hon. Samuel Ikon are cleared of and exonerated from the allegations levelled against them by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria in his June 9, 2016 letter to the Rt. Hon. Speaker, for want of evidence.
“That, in the light of the foregoing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs do engage with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, with a view to finding a seamless resolution of the domestic fallout of this unfortunate incident as it relates to Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo, Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah and Hon. Samuel Ikon.
“That the Ministry of Foreign affairs do write to remind the United States Embassy of the need to always adopt the official channel of communications in its dealings with any organ or institution of government.”