Sex Scandal: Accused Reps Demand Public Investigative Hearing | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Sex Scandal: Accused Reps Demand Public Investigative Hearing

Posted: Jun 22, 2016 at 4:32 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

…I’ve Never Cheated On My Wife –Rep Gbillah

…As Dogara Refers Allegation To Ethics, Foreign Affairs Committees


Ahmed Musa

Abuja – The three members of the House of Representatives accused of misconduct bordering on attempted rape and soliciting for prostitutes in Ohio, the United States of America, on Tuesday, asked the leadership of the House to convene a public investigative hearing on the allegations against them.

This is even as one of the accused lawmakers, Hon. Mark Tersee Gbillah representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal constituency of Benue State, has denied any wrongdoing regarding the allegation, saying that he had never cheated on his wife since he got married and never had an eye on any other woman apart from the wife.

In the interim, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara has referred the allegations to the Committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs to carry out investigations on the matter.

Dogara also urged those making comments on the allegation to thread with caution as an accused is assumed innocent until proven guilty and that though it was allegation against the lawmakers today, it could be any other person or even the country another time.

The three lawmakers accused in the letter from the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. James Entwistle, to the Speaker are: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi); Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mark Tersee Gbillah (APC, Benue).

Mr. Entwistle, had in the petition to the Speaker alleged that the actions of the lawmakers at the International Visitor Leadership Programme, brought the parliament into disrepute by soliciting for sex from prostitutes and grabbing hotel housekeeper in an attempt to rape.

Relying on House Order 6, Rules 20 and 22 that deal with privileges of members, Gbillah stated that it was important that the matter should be specifically addressed on the floor of the House, adding that the allegation was completely false.

The lawmaker who was speaking on behalf of the other accused members said: “For my colleagues who don’t know me and Nigerians out there, I want to categorically state here, for any avoidance of doubt that no such incidence occurred”.

“I want my colleagues and the nation to understand that though we are in the eye of the storm, we will bear this cross and courageously too.

“I want to say that this something is calculated to tarnish the image of the three members and this very hallowed institution. And I caution Nigerians who are quick to draw conclusion, I want to state categorically for all Nigerians to know again, that I love my wife without reservation.

“I have only eyes for my wife. I have never cheated on her. I wish she was able to come to this hallowed chambers to testify to this. I went on this trip with my wife and my baby. I travel everywhere I go with my wife and baby,” he insisted.

Maintaining his innocence on the allegations, Gbillah who said that he had travelled to many part of the world without any allegation against him, stated that efforts should be made immediately to invite the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria to come and testify with evidence before his tenure runs out in Nigeria.

He also insisted that the investigation should be through public hearing so that the public will know the truth in the allegation, adding that none of the accused was interrogated either in the United States as the programme lasted or in the US Embassy in Nigeria before the Ambassador rushed to make his conclusions.

“We are in the eye of the storm, we demand justice should be done,” the Benue-born lawmaker stated albeit emotionally.

Contributing to the debate, Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje(PDP, Abia) said that the issue had become a matter between Nigeria and the United States, which are two sovereign countries, adding that it was an issue that bothers on strategic relationship between the two countries.

Ukejeh advised the Committees handling the matter not to in any way jeopardise the relationship between the two countries.

While referring the matter to the Committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs, the Speaker described the matter as “a very serious one where many people had come with the conclusion that the three lawmakers were wrong”.

He said that anybody thinking that the matter was only about the three members or the House alone was wrong and that if not investigated well, in due course could be extended to other Nigerians.

Dogara explained that going by the House Rule, any such allegation of impropriety was always referred to the Committee on Ethics, adding: “I have appointed the Committee on Foreign Affairs to join in the investigation because of the diplomatic relationship.

“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 now see the committee.”