Friday, July 15

Reps: US ambassador did not follow due process in ‘sexual misconduct’ allegation

Reps: US ambassador did not follow due process in ‘sexual misconduct’ allegation

Ambassador James Entwistle

The federal house of representatives says James Entwistle, United States ambassador to Nigeria, did not follow proper channels when he directly petitioned Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house, to accuse three lawmakers of sexual misconduct.

On June 16, it was revealed that Entwistle had written the lower chamber to accuse three members — Samuel Ikon (PDP Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Gololo (APC Bauchi) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) — of seeking the services of sex workers while they were attending a programme in the US.

But all three lawmakers have denied any guilt, and have demanded evidence of the vice from their accuser.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Abdulrazak Namdas, chairman of the house committee on media and publicity, said the lower chamber would not shield the lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct but will give them fair hearing in the ongoing investigation, even though the complaint against them was “not properly” made.

“The committees (ethics and privileges and foreign affairs) has decided to do a public hearing, we are not shielding anyone but we are going to give colleagues fair hearing,” he said.

“The ambassador did not follow the due process by passing through the minister (foreign affairs) but we are past that now.”

Commenting on the debate on immunity clause for the leadership of the national assembly, Namdas expressed displeasure at reports insinuating that the house had already approved immunity for the national assembly leadership.

“People are reporting like we have given ourselves immunity,” he said.

“When the issue came up, it was hotly debated; there must be for and against. The way people are reporting is like we have given ourselves immunity.

“Immunity is not done to protect anyone or because someone is in problem; it is not done in any motif.”

The investigative hearing on the matter by the house joint committees of ethics and privileges and foreign affairs was originally scheduled to start on Thursday, but it will now hold on July 20, following Entwistle’s absence on the set date.

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