Victor Umeh, Fasua, Others Back Calls For Restructuring

Some analysts and political stakeholders on Wednesday joined voices with opinion leaders who have previously called for restructuring in Nigeria.

Speaking on Channels Television Programme, The Core, the analysts throw their weight behind calls for restructuring citing different reasons.

Senator Victor Umeh of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) believes that Nigeria was functioning well before the division into 36 states. He added that local governments in Nigeria were not created with an even parameter.

“Before the military took over Nigeria in 1967, we had regional arrangement. At that time, Nigeria was functioning well. When the military came, the four regions were disbanded and states were created starting from 12. With successive military regimes, we now have 36 states. All these 36 states, none was created through a civilian parliamentary process. These states were established with decrees.

“So in 1999, we inherited 36 states and 774 local governments all created without any form of consultation, except by military fiat.

“To us in APGA, we feel restricting is imperative. When these states and local governments were created, they were not created with an even parameter. Some people have been disadvantaged through the process of creation of states by the military. We request that they make things more equitable. The South East should be given one additional state,” he said.

However, Mark Gbillah, a member of the House of Representatives says the calls for restructuring is born out of the conception by Nigerians that the current structure is not working and there is the need for a new structure that will work.

He stressed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has individuals who prioritise the interest of Nigerians.

The National Chairman of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) Tope Fasua, believes restructuring is not just about increasing number of states but improving the state of livelihood of Nigerians.

He noted that restructuring if properly done will fix some ills in the Nigerian society.

“Restructuring should mean that a country should look at the outcome of the policies and structures it is operating and ask if it is working for the people. If it is not, then you restructure.

“Recently, we got to hear that Nigeria has 87million poor people. If a country had independence in 1960 and up till date, you are providing the largest number of poor people for the world, then your structure is not working,” Fasua said.

A Representative of The Voice of Reason, Akin Fapohunda highlighting the economic imperatives says even Nigeria’s economy is suffering based on the current structure in Nigeria which has been unable to cater for the huge number of 36 states.

Fapohunda said Nigeria, “cannot afford bi-cameral legislature, we cannot afford 36 State of Assemblies drawing money and resources. We need to operate on modular basis so that we can handle our problems on a micro scale where it applies.”

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.

No Evidence Of Sexual Misconduct Against Lawmakers – Foreign Affairs Minister

Sexual MisconductThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says there is no evidence to confirm the allegations of sexual misconduct made against three lawmakers of the House of Representatives.

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.

The Committee met with the Minister after it heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The Minister on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint committee investigating the matter.

It was the second time the Minister and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said that the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he would be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, hadchallenged 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 aphone interview on Sunrise Daily.

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

Sex Scandal Probe: Onyeama, US Ambassador, Again, Fail To Appear Before Committee

house-of-reps-to-reveal-lawmakers'-allowancesThe Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

This is the second time the Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he will be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The Committee, however, heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The hearing is expected to resume on Thursday when the minister is expected to appear.

The United States Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle also failed to appear before the meeting.

Mr Entwistle, said 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.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, had 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.

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.

 

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.

Sexual Misconduct Allegations: Lawmaker Demands Justice

House of Representatives,Following days of media reports on allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, one of the lawmakers, Mark Gbillah, has called for a detailed public investigation into the matter.

The lawmaker stated that the allegations, made by the Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, did not occur.

Mr Entwistle had lodged a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the issue.

But the lawmaker emphasised that he believed the allegations were meant to tarnish the image of the members involved and the legislative house.

He further demanded a detailed and open investigation into the matter.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who has ordered an investigation into the matter, said that the allegations were not conclusive enough to decide that anyone is guilty.

The allegations of sexual misconduct involving three members of the House of Representatives has continued to generate newspaper headlines.

In her contribution, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, appealed to Nigerians for caution on the matter.

As the matter was not up for the debate, the Speaker of the House, rounding up, made it clear that the matter was a serious one.

The House has mandated a joint Committee of ethics and Foreign Affairs to investigate the matter and report back to the House.

Their report is expected to guide the House on the position it will take on the matter.