According to reports, the United States government has declined to comment on the clearance given to three members of the House of Representatives it accused of sexual misconduct during an official trip to Cleveland, Ohio, for the International Visitors Leadership Programme.
The House cleared Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue), Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi) of wrongdoing on Tuesday, following a report by the Joint Committee of Foreign Relations and Ethics and Privileges that investigated the claim.
The exoneration of the lawmakers came four months after former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle petitioned the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, accusing the lawmakers of soliciting for sex during the trip. Entwistle’s letter dated June 9, said, Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper who was cleaning his hotel room and solicited for sex, while Gbillah and Ikon allegedly asked hotel parking attendants to help them get prostitutes.
Newsmen, on Wednesday, sought the reaction of the U.S. Embassy on the clearance given to the lawmakers and to know if the embassy would revalidate the cancelled visas of the lawmakers. In its reply, the embassy said it would not be appropriate to make a comment. A statement by the Information Officer, Public Affairs Section, Mr Russel K. Brooks, read in part: “It would not be appropriate for the Embassy to comment on a decision taken by the National Assembly regarding its members. Regarding the visas, we do not publicly discuss individual visa matters due to their private nature.”
At the heat of the matter, the House leadership invited Entwistle to appear on the floor of the House to throw light on his allegation.
Though he agreed to honour the invitation, he never did before he departed Nigeria.