Dogara constitutes probe panel on sex scandal, accused lawmakers insist on proof
Even as House of Representative Speaker Yakubu Dogara yesterday inaugurated an investigative panel on the alleged United States sex scandal, the embattled lawmakers in the saga urged the House leadership to establish the veracity or otherwise of the allegations levelled against them by the American ambassador to Nigeria.
At the inauguration, Dogara instructed the investigating House Committees on Ethic and Privileges and Foreign Affairs to ensure a thorough inquiry into the issue to allow the House make an informed decision on the matter.
The Guardian recalls that the affected members, Mohammed Garba-Gololo (Bauchi State); Mark Terseer Gbillah (Benue State), and Samuel Ikon (Akwa Ibom) – allegedly committed the act during a recent trip to the US to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on Good Governance organised by the US Government.
The three legislators were members of a team of 10 lawmakers nominated to attend the leadership programme, which took place in Cleveland, Ohio, between April 7 and 13 this year.
In an emotion-laden motion brought under matters of privilege citing relevant sections of the House Rule book, Mark Terseer Gbillah yesterday urged the parliament to institute an investigative panel that will publicly provide Nigerians with evidence of the alleged saga.
“I love my wife, I have never cheated on her, and I wish she is here to testify. I have eyes only for my wife. I have slept in hotels all over the world, and there has never been any scandal. I want the U S ambassador to bring a proof.”
“I suggest that a committee conduct the investigation in public so that the US ambassador who would soon be leaving should come and prove his allegations,” he prayed.
The lawmaker, who denied, “no such incident occurred”, further prayed the House to commence the investigation with immediate effect, “because time is of the essence.”
While also calling for restraint on the matter from the social media, Gbillah took a swipe at some Nigerians who, he said, “have become the judge, the jury and the executioner in the saga” calculated to tarnish and smear the image of the members of the parliament and Nigeria in general.
In her submission, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje urged the media to be circumspect in reporting the alleged incident since the chamber has already intervened in the matter.
Elendu-Ukeje, while calling for restraint also lend her voice to the need for a thorough investigation into the allegation, which findings, she said must be made public.
In his intervention, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who presided over the session said it was a serious allegation and assured that the purported incident will be thoroughly investigated with a view to getting to the bottom of the matter.
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