Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyema has said that based on information available to him, there was no evidence to substantiate allegation of sexual misconduct by three members of the House of Representatives in the United States.
While testifying before a committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate the allegations, the minister said the accusers – an unidentified housekeeper and car park attendants in the Renaissance Marriot Resident Inn in downtown Cleveland – refused to respond when the ministry reached out to them to substantiate their claims.
Outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, had in a correspondence to Speaker Yakubu Dogara, alleged that the three lawmakers: Mohammed Gololo, Samuel Ikon and Mark Gbillah, committed offences ranging from soliciting sex through hotel car park attendants and assaulting a hotel housekeeper in an attempt to rape her during the International Visitor Leadership Programme in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. held between April 7 and April 13.
“I had assumed there would be recording, pictures and DNAs and what have you but I was surprised that the alleged complainants refused to testify when approached by our own government,” Onyeama told the Hon. Nicholas Ossai-led joint House Committees on Ethics, Privileges and Foreign Affairs.
The minister also said that the US ambassador ought to have sent the correspondence to the foreign ministry before writing to the House speaker. According to him, the approach adopted by Entwistle was a breach of protocol.
However, he said that the decision of the US authorities to withdraw the entry permit of the three lawmakers was in order as they reserved the right to exercise such powers the way they please.
Onyeama said that for now the accusations against the lawmakers are “ambiguous” and can only be confirmed to be true if a court of some sort has all the evidence and is in a position to have access to the facts. “At this stage it is some people’s words against some other people,” he said.