Sexual Misconduct: Reps Clear Colleagues Of Allegations

House-of-Representatives-in-Rowdy-sessionThe House of Representatives has cleared three of its members of allegations of sexual misconduct brought against them by the former United State Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.

This is one of the recommendations approved by the House after considering the report of a joint committee that investigated the matter.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

The joint committee said it found that there was no evidence to back up the allegations levelled against the lawmakers.

The House is also asking that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write to the United State Embassy, reminding them to always adopt official means of communications in its dealings with any organ or institution of government.

After the US envoy made the allegations against the lawmakers, the House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Representative Yusuf Tajudeen, asked the U.S. Embassy to up with facts and place them before the House.

He said the House of Representatives was expecting the U.S. Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House was convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

He further noted that “Hon (Mark) Gbillah travelled with his wife and daughter”.

Rep Tajudeen, however, wondered why the accused were not called for questioning during their two-week stay in the United States and why it took the U.S. Embassy over four weeks after their (lawmakers) return to lodge the complaint.

Responding to the request, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria said there was a proof that three members of the House were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwistle said he would present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

The U.S. Ambassador in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said their actions brought disrepute to the parliament.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Ossai Ossai was asked to investigate the matter.

In the course of further investigations into the issue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said there was no evidence to confirm the allegations.

The Minister put forward this position when he appeared before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

The Minister’s presentation is based on an interaction he had with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, concerning a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Buhari Commends U.S’ Role In Deepening Nigeria’s Democracy

L-R: Deputy Ambassador, Mrs Maria Brewer; H.E. James F. Entwistle, President Buhari and Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar Ibrahim.
L-R: Deputy Ambassador, Mrs Maria Brewer; H.E. James F. Entwistle, President Buhari and Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar Ibrahim.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja expressed appreciation for the important role the United States Government played in the success of the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.

Receiving the outgoing Ambassador of the U.S, Mr James Entwistle, at the State House, President Buhari said that the U.S’ insistence on free, fair and violent-free elections largely contributed to the deepening of democracy in the country.

“The U.S support before, during and after the 2015 elections was vital to Nigeria’s stability and I will never forget the role they played in the stability of Nigeria.

“We were lucky to have had an INEC Chairman who was competent and courageous.

“Mr Ambassador, you occupied a position at a very strategic time in Nigeria’s history and I hope our historians will record this because it meant so much for our stability.

“I hope you write a book on your experience in Nigeria. The commitment of U.S in supporting Nigeria has been unprecedented,” the President told the outgoing U.S envoy.

President Buhari also thanked the Americans for their military, intelligence and humanitarian support to Nigeria on the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency.

He said Nigeria also valued America’s contributions to promoting regional peace and stability through the instrumentality of the G7.

President Buhari recieves outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Ambassador Perry Calderwood
President Buhari recieves outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Ambassador Perry Calderwood

President Buhari also received in audience the outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Ambassador Perry Calderwood.

The President commended the Government of Canada’s humanitarian assistance to Nigerians displaced by the insurgency in the North East, and their commitment to polio eradication in the country.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s effort to facilitate voluntary return of displaced persons in addition to ensuring that conditions in North-eastern Nigeria improve significantly before the next farming season.

In their separate remarks, Ambassadors Entwistle and Calderwood had expressed concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the North East with looming reports of food crisis and malnutrition.

Entwistle said that the bilateral relationship between both countries had remained very vibrant and cordial.

“I had a marvellous three-and-half years in Nigeria and I am grateful to have been involved in the memorable elections in 2015,” he said.

On his part, Calderwood conveyed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desire to strengthen ties with Nigeria in Canada’s quest for partnership on international engagements, including its bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council, 2021-2022.

Sex Scandal: US To Provide Video Evidence During House Public Hearing

James_EntwistleThe United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says there is proof that three members of the Nigerian House of Representatives were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwhistle is to present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah, and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

The US Ambassador in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, said their actions brought disrepute to the parliament.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Ossai Ossai has been assigned to probe the matter.

The three lawmakers were attending the International Visitor Leadership Programme in Ohio, from April 7 to 13, 2016, when the incident occurred.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema is also expected at the hearing.

Sex Scandal: House Challenges U.S Embassy To Come Forward With Facts

House-Of-Assembly-Spectrum-NCCThe House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, on Tuesday challenged the U.S Embassy to come and place their facts in the sex allegation against federal lawmakers before the House.

He said the House of Representatives is expecting the U.S Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House is convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

He further noted that “Hon (Mark) Gbillah travelled with his wife and daughter” was the one, when confronted by the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria at an event where he represented the Speaker of the House, who told the U.S Ambassador to put the allegations in writing and forward to the appropriate quarters.

Rep Tajudeen, however, wondered why the accused were not called for questioning during their two-week stay in the United States and why it took the U.S Embassy over four weeks after their (lawmakers) return to lodge the complaint.

“But we do not want to pretend we have all the facts from our colleagues. We want to assume their might be certain information they haven’t divulged and that is why this hearing will take place and it is going to be public so that if they are indeed guilty, they will have themselves to blame and the House will wash its hands off.

“But if they are not guilty, we will have an opportunity to lay to rest the allegation being paraded against black Africans”, he said.

He insisted, however, that the House does not want to go into conclusion without heating both sides of the story, and promised that the House will apply the full weight of the consequences on the accused, if the video evidence should prove them guilty.

“What we do will determine the way we are being perceived”, he said.

The United States government had raised serious allegations of sexual misconduct and attempted rape against Nigerian lawmakers.

The U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, made the allegation in a letter sent to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on June 9.

The accused members are Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue).

The petition says they attempted to commit rape, and solicited sex from prostitutes during their recent trip to Cleveland, United States, for the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Calculated Attempt To Rubbish The National Assembly

Mr. Gbillah, said the allegation was a calculated attempt at rubbishing the National Assembly and vowed to demand compensation from the U.S. for defamation of character.

He explained that that they did not speak to park attendants, basing his argument on the ground that they did not go with cars.

Mr Ikon on his part wrote to the US ambassador in Nigeria, James Entwistle, and threatened to seek legal redress in competent courts of law both in Nigeria and the US. Reps-sex scandal

He issued the threat in a letter addressed to the ambassador, explaining that he was ill during the trip and could not have had sex due to ill-health.

He said he would have no other option but to go to court, if the ambassador failed to clear his name of the allegation, saying also that he was ill at the time of the purported incident and couldn’t have had sex in that condition.

Sexual Misconduct: Reps To Investigate Allegation Against Members

Sexual MisconductThe House of Reps has commenced investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against three House members who attended the International Visitor Leadership programme in the United States of America.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep Abdulrazak Namdas, said this on Friday while addressing journalists at a briefing in Abuja.


He confirmed the receipt of a letter from the Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, who lodged a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr Namdas gave the assurance that the outcome of the investigation would be made known in due time.

Buhari Welcomes Greater U.S. Support For Nigeria’s Security, Development

President-Muhammadu-BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday in Abuja that his administration would continue to welcome the support and understanding of the United States, as it strives to achieve greater internal security and socio-economic progress in Nigeria.

Receiving a delegation led by the United States Secretary of Commerce, Ms Penny Pritzker, at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, President Buhari applauded ongoing American collaboration with his administration on security and developmental issues.

“I remain grateful for the reception accorded me and my team when we visited the United States at the invitation of President Obama.

“We discussed security, corruption, infrastructure, and many other issues.

“We thank America for sending experts to train our troops and providing hardware for our military because we must first stabilise the country before we can move it forward,” the President told the delegation which included the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, and three others.

Time To Diversify The Economy

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was at the meeting, said that “although Nigeria currently faces serious challenges, it is also a time of great opportunities for the country”.

“It’s time to diversify our economy from oil. We’ve always talked about it, but never got round to doing it.

“The opportunity has come now. We have all it takes to be an agricultural nation. We also have solid minerals and we must develop our infrastructure in order to aid business,” the Vice President stated.

Ms Pritzker told President Buhari that she was in Nigeria with 10 leading American business men and women, at the prompting of President Obama.

“The purpose is to better understand the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Nigeria.

“Our team is very optimistic about your government’s commitment to security, good governance, fighting corruption, having reliable and regular regulatory policies.

“All these make us optimistic about working together. We are not here to sell policies, but to partner with you,” she said.

Fayemi Seeks America’s Help To Develop Solid Minerals Sector

Solid MineralsThe Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Fayemi Kayode, is requesting the assistance of the United States of America for the development of the sector.

He has asked the American government to provide technical assistance as well as create international market for produce as the federal government is determined to develop the sector to provide alternatives to the nation’s dwindling oil revenue.

Meanwhile, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, during a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, gave an assurance of the cooperation of the American Geological Survey.

Kaduna Government Warns Against Illegal Land Sales

Nasir-El-Rufai-Kaduna-GovernorThe Kaduna State government says it will not spare any civil servant that is involved in the illegal sale of lands belonging to government institutions, agencies and offices.

The State Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, gave the warning while declaring open a two-day workshop for spokespersons to governors in Northern Nigeria, organised by the United States Embassy in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Kaduna.

He explained that a situation where civil servants, who were supposed to protect all government lands and other property under their care, connive with politicians to sell such lands off in the past regime would not be condoned by the present administration.

Mr Bantex also disclosed that the executive had sent a bill to the State Assembly, seeking a viable punishment for the civil servants and violators who acquired the government lands.

The Kaduna State Deputy Governor told the gathering that the All Progressive Congress’ government in the state was committed to transparency and would abide by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, particularly as it regards to the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policies.

He also stated that the government would pay compensation for all legally acquired lands that were recovered by the state government for development purposes.

Earlier, the United States of America’s Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, advised the government spokespersons to make information accessible to the public as timely as possible, as it would help to promote democracy and accountability in governance.

‎He stressed that an effective government press operation was critical in communicating clear and timely information to the public about government policies and actions, especially in relation to President Muhammadu Buhari’s priorities of counter-terrorism, anti-corruption and economic development.

US Embassy Trains Govt. Spokespersons On Information Management

US EmbassyThe United States Embassy in Nigeria has called on the spokespersons of governors of the 19 northern states of the country not to withhold information about government activities from the public.

This was at a 2-day workshop it organised for the spokespersons in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.

The essence of the workshop was to assist the participants to refine and learn new techniques on effective press office operations, with particular emphasis on countering radical narratives and creating a strong network of spokespersons throughout the government of Nigeria.

In his speech, the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, explained the importance of unfettered access to information in the development of democracy and promotion of good governance.

He said that the training would assist the participants to discharge their functions effectively.

Addressing the participants, the Guest Speaker and an America-based Media Consultant, Eduardo Cue, said that the essence of the workshop was to update the skills of the government’s image makers and to also shape the public knowledge of government through the media.

In his address, the NUJ President, Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile, said that the spokespersons were critical in making the government activities open and accessible to the people.

He stressed the need for government officials to exhibit honesty, transparency and collaborate with the media on information dissemination and management.

On his part, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who was represented by his deputy, Bala Bantex, charged the spokespersons to make available to the public, the activities of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at all levels.

Some of the participants said that the workshop would enable them to understand the best ways of managing information as it relates to the activities of their various state governments, and most importantly on how to relate with the media and the public in general.

At the end of the workshop, it is expected that the government spokespersons would be able to make decisions that will satisfy the public interest and their employers, as well as their personal values and professional standards.

US Government Expresses Readiness To Work With NNPC

NNPCThe United State Government has expressed readiness to work with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) .

The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle told the NNPC management that the United States would provide the necessary assistance to help the team realize its sets goal and objectives.

Mr Entwistle acknowledged that the Group Managing Director of NNPC,Emmanuel Kachikwu, has his work cut out for him to reform the petroleum sector in line with the chance agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Kachikwu  had earlier called for speedy deregulation of the nation’s oil and gas sector.

According to Mr Kachikwu, fuel subsidy is causing a drain on the economy.

“Subsidy creates distortion in government revenue distribution as a result of round-tripping and unnecessary carryover of expenditures every year in a way that is difficult for government to control or sustain

“Removal of price control mechanisms is deemed imperative to ensure full growth of the sub-sector, by allowing private stakeholders to complement the effort of government in developing the industry”,  he said.

U.S. Pledges Continued Support To Nigeria

James_Entwistle_800x345The United States (U.S.) has assured Nigeria of its continued support towards a stronger democracy and a free and independent people.

Addressing a gathering in Abuja at an event held to mark the United States’ 239th Independence Anniversary, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, said Nigeria would receive support in different sectors of its economy and in its fight against corruption and insecurity.

He said his country would support the oil-rich, nation in tackling its financial instability and infrastructure deficit.

On the issue of insecurity in the north-east he said: “As you fight Boko Haram’s insecurity in the north-east, we will continue to help you in every appropriate way, as you lead the effort to deliver humanitarian aid to those driven from their communities and help them return home”.

Mr Entwistle also pledged the American government’s support to Nigeria’s displaced persons with food, medical care and education.

“As you fight corruption, we offer technical assistance, training for investigators and prosecutors and a commitment to ensuring that no stolen funds are landed through banking systems in the United States.

“As you improve the business climate, we encourage trade and investment.

“As you continue the privatisation of your power grid, we stand ready to help, through President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative.

“As you increase your commitment to healthcare and education, we will of course support those efforts as well,” he stressed.

With a toast to the prosperity of both countries, he said “Nigeria and America have both overcome deep and devastating losses through history and will continue to overcome all challenges towards a formidable force in the future”.

Senate President, Saraki Promises To Block Revenue Leakages

SarakiNigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has given an assurance that the Senate would use its supervisory role to plug the leakages of revenue in the country.

Senator Saraki gave the assurance when he received the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, at the National Assembly.

An audit report done by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) between 1999 and 2011 revealed a total revenue loss of 9.8 billion dollars to the federation.

This loss is as a result of underpayments, under assessment of taxes, rents, royalties and other process lapses.

To confront this problem, the federal government has said that it would take all necessary steps to implement the findings and recommendations contained in the audit reports of NEITI.

Senator Bukola Saraki, however, says one of the priorities of the eight assembly is to plug revenue leakages.

He said that the oversight functions of the legislature would be strengthened in such a way that there would be no loopholes in implementing government plans and projects.

The Senate President also warned government agencies to desist from the practice of not remitting government revenue to the federation account, saying government will no longer condone such mismanagement.

The US Ambassador assured the Senate President of the support of the US Government in the areas of power supply and capacity development.