The Weighty Allegations of Sexual Misdemeanour | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Weighty Allegations of Sexual Misdemeanour

Posted: Jun 30, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The recent allegations that three of the ten members of the House of Representatives who were in Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America, to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on good governance solicited for sex remains an unfortunate scar.  As much as the issue has thrown up more questions than answers, we also believe it calls for every honest step to be taken by all the affected parties to straighten the records. We believe this has become imperative, if the soiled reputation of the accused legislators, the National Assembly, and the nation at large must be restored. This position stems from our belief that the worst evil that could be done to anyone is to injure or assassinate his character.

These weighty allegations are contained in a petition addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara dated June 9, 2016, by Mr James Entwistle, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, alleging that three members of the House namely: Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Hon. Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Hon. Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) while on the programme in the USA,  had brought disrepute to the parliament by soliciting for sex from prostitutes and grabbing hotel housekeeper in a bid to rape. However, the affected lawmakers have completely denied the allegations and threatened to sue the ambassador and the US government for “character defamation and a calculated attempt to ridicule the NASS.


Nevertheless, whether the veracity of these allegations is established or not, this development is, to say the least, a national embarrassment. Apart from leaving in their trail negative impression of the NASS and the entire country, they also jeopardise the chances of Nigerian delegation participating in such international programmes subsequently. This is why NASS authorities must not leave this lying low as something needs to be done urgently to salvage the situation.

Although we acknowledge the weaknesses and frailties of man, and do not in any way intend to absolve them of such allegations, we are under necessity to say that the approach of the US authorities in handling the issue appears suspect.

In the first place, it would have been a lot more convincing and of immense help to the leadership of the House if there were incontrovertible evidences of the alleged sexual misconduct. We believe that in such big hotels in a developed country like the US, there would be CCTV installations available. As such a video footage would have gone a long way to proving the reliability of such allegations. Secondly, we are worried that the US authorities did not attach any evidence suggesting that the lawmakers allegedly involved in this misconduct were accosted, or their identities brought to the head of the Nigerian delegation if the evidences were there. In other words, the US authorities could have done better to prove their point rather than just mere allegations in a letter. Nevertheless, we are glad that the leadership of the House has set up an investigative committee to look into the matter. It is our hope that all the technicalities of the law would be explored to get to the root of such damaging allegations with a view to setting the records straight.

Be that as it may, this Newspaper would not subscribe to such misdemeanour coming from honourable members of the House of Representatives at the global stage. Already many Nigerians are disillusioned at the news of this development. Therefore, we urge that they would be meant to take full responsibility of their action if found culpable. However, it is our position that fairness and equity be given their due place at every stage in handling the issue. Above all, we wish to be emphatic that this is a wakeup call to public office holders in Nigeria to, above everything, learn to comport themselves properly especially outside the shores of the country and be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria at all times.