While Nigeria is doing everything possible to regain its lost reputation in the international circle, some House of Representative members have allegedly undermined this effort as they are accused of attempted rape and soliciting for sex from prostitutes while on a trip to the United States.
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, petitioned Speaker Yakubu Dogara, notifying him that while the Representatives were in the US for the International Visitor Leadership programme, some of them tried grabbing a hotel housekeeper in an attempt to rape her (attempted rape), while others solicited for sex from prostitutes.
The letter read:
“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.
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“The US 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 US mission took pains to confirm these allegations and the identities of the individuals with the employees of the hotel in Cleveland. 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.”
“In addition, most of the members of this group reacted very negatively to my deputy when she brought this matter to their attention, further calling into question their judgement and commitment to the goals of the International Visitor Leadership programme.
“This leads us to question whether to include National Assembly members for other similar programmes 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.”
However, the report said the affected lawmakers have denied all the allegations and threatened to sue the Ambassador and the US government for allegedly defaming their character. They also described the ambassador’s petition dated June 9, 2016 as a calculated attempt to ridicule the Nigerian legislature.
The three Nigerian lawmakers were among the ten lawmakers invited by the US government to attend the International Visitor Leadership Program held between April 7 and 13, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.