The United States (US) ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, has accused three Nigerian lawmakers of bad behaviour.
In a strongly worded letter, Entwistle accused Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) of various sexual misconducts, while they visited the U.S. state of Ohio as participants for the International Visitor Leadership Programme.
The ambassador made these allegations on behalf of the hotel the lawmakers were lodged in Cleveland. For Gololo, the ambassador accused him of grabbing a housekeeper in his hotel room and soliciting for sex, while Ikon and Gbillah were accused of soliciting the assistance of a hotel park attendant to help get prostitutes.
Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the house of representatives, said in Abuja on Thursday, that the house has commenced investigation into allegations levelled against three of its members by the U.S.
“We are in receipt of a letter from the US ambassador, alleging misconduct by some members of the national assembly, who attended a training programme in the United States of America,” he said.
“The leadership of the house has commenced its own part of the investigation. When it is concluded, we will brief Nigerians further on this issue.”
The three members of the house — Samuel Ikon (PDP Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Gololo (APC Bauchi) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) — allegedly sought the services of sex workers while they were attending a programme in the US.
The letter from James Entwistle, American ambassador to Nigeria, to the house, obtained by New Telegraph, reads: “It is with regret that I must bring to your attention the following situation. Ten members of the Nigerian national assembly recently travelled to Cleveland, Ohio as participants in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on good governance.
“We received troubling allegations regarding the behaviour of three members of the delegation to the U.S. Government’s flagship professional exchange programme.
“The U.S. Department of State and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs received reports from employees of the Cleveland hotel where the representatives stayed, alleging the representatives engaged in the following behaviour: ‘Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited her for sex.
“While the housekeeper reported this to her management, this incident could have involved local law enforcement and resulted in legal consequences for Representative Gololo. Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants assist them to solicit prostitutes.
“The U.S. Mission took pains to confirm these allegations and the identities of the individuals with the employees of the hotel in Cleveland.
“The conduct described above left a very negative impression of Nigeria, casting a shadow on Nigeria’s national assembly, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and to the American hosts’ impression of Nigeria as a whole. Such conduct could affect some participants’ ability to travel to the United States in the future.
“While the majority of Nigerian visitors to the United States do behave appropriately, even a few Nigerians demonstrating poor judgement leads to a poor impression of the Nigerian people generally, though it is far from accurate. Such incidents jeopardise the ability of future programming and make host institutions and organisations less likely to welcome similar visits in the future.
“I request, in the strongest possible terms, you share this message with members of the National Assembly so they understand the seriousness of these issues, and the potential consequences of their actions, not only for themselves as individuals, but also for the future of such programmes designed to benefit Nigeria.”