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.

 

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.

US Partners DISCOs For Improved Electricity In Nigeria

ElectricityThe government of the United States of America has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria’s government to improve electricity supply.

The partnership which is expected to inject nine million dollars annually into the sector is also expected to provide technical support to the distribution companies.

Representatives of electricity distribution companies, the Ministry of Power and the American government, all witnessed the signing of the agreement between the U.S government and electricity distribution companies.

The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle said that the partnership is aimed at opening up business opportunities in Nigeria, as access to electricity would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

Away from the business opportunities the partnership will provide, representatives of some electricity distribution companies at the event asked the U.S government to help build their capacity to distribute power and collect tariff from consumers.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, who was represented at the event by his SSA, Lanre Akinsola, said that government is making efforts to relieve the sector of its over-dependence on gas.

Electricity generation and distribution has dropped below 3,000 megawatts in recent times, causing perpetual darkness in some parts of the country.

Often, the Ministry of Power has blamed the sharp fall on acts of vandalism of gas pipelines and other installations across the country.

Chibok Girls: U.S. Will Continue To Support Nigeria – Ambassador Power

chibok girlsThe U.S. Ambassador to United Nations, Samantha Power on Thursday said the United States will not rest in its support of Nigeria and other neighboring countries to secure the release of abducted people.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Power noted that the Chibok girls issue is of top priority to her country.

The Ambassador, who came to the Presidential Villa with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, said the meeting among other issues centered on what the United Nations and the USA are doing as a follow up to the promise to assist Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.

She said apart from the provision of intelligence, the United States has been able to provide platforms to the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram.

On the recent video showing proof of life of some of the abducted girls aired by CNN, she said the United States will follow every lead that will support the release of the girls.

Power had on Tuesday, pledged $40 million in humanitarian assistance to countries bordering Lake Chad, fighting Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the money is to help about seven million people affected by the insurgent group that has killed around 15,000 people.

Power was in the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, and met President Paul Biya.

“We discussed the monstrous threat posed by Boko Haram and we agreed, and he was very forceful on this point, that the military response alone could not succeed in defeating Boko Haram in the long-term,” she said of her meeting with Biya.

Over 10 Nations Support Nigeria’s Northeast Rehabilitation Project

IDPs-Camp-Bomb in northeast NigeriaNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has welcomed the offer of support from Ambassadors from several nations who are based in the country in the rehabilitation of the nation’s devastated northeast.

In a meeting on Monday with several Ambassadors, heads of mission and diplomats from the United States, Japan, Turkey, Canada, Australia and eight European nations, the Vice President thanked the envoys and their countries for their attention to matters of the north-east.

He also commended them and the so many international bodies and agencies who have acted and expressed their wishes to offer assistance.

‘The Critical Issue’

The Vice President said the issue of the rehabilitation of the northeast was a “matter close to the president’s heart”.

A statement by the Vice President spokesman, Laolu Akande, said Professor Osinbajo also pointed out that he was also very active in the overall coordination of the efforts.

According to him, the coordination of the rehabilitation plans is now the critical issue, expressing the expectation that the envoys would work with the Presidential Committee on the North-East (PCNI) headed by General T.Y. Danjuma.

He explained that the PCNI was now the new structure President Muhammadu Buhari had put in place to coordinate the efforts, clarifying that the PCNI now encompasses the Presidential Initiative on the North East, which was the former body in place.

According to the statement, the PCNI now also includes the Victims Support Fund, VSF, headed by Danjuma and Safe Schools Initiative formerly in the federal Finance Ministry.

“Like-Minded Ambassadors”

Professor Osinbajo added that his office would actively and directly be involved in overseeing the new structure in addition to his office’s responsibility to supervise the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, another active agency in the process.

The group of ambassadors called “Like-Minded Ambassadors on support for the North-East” was led to the meeting with the Vice President by the United States Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle, who expressed the interest of the international community to partner with the Federal Government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North East zone of the country destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“The group was at the State House to meet with the Vice President, to compare notes and make sure that we understand each other on the scope and size of humanitarian challenges and how we can coordinate when the time comes for the internally displaced to go home,” the United States Ambassador to Nigeria told reporters.

He also said the group had come to discuss the upcoming workshops and seminars and for the diplomats representing different countries to know areas where they could help, as some of them were already helping.

The Ambassador/Head of the European Union Delegation in Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion, also said that the EU had set aside a trust fund he described as a basket fund, from which funds would be drawn to offer assistance, especially in addressing the root causes of crisis in the Sahel region.

The EU nations represented at the meeting include Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands and Norway.

U.S. Urges Nigeria To Curb Unemployment With Micro-Financing

US EmbassyThe United States has asked the Nigerian government to invest in micro-finance to encourage small businesses that would reduce unemployment.


The call was made by the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, on Tuesday.

He also advised the government to make the Nigerian business environment friendly for foreign investors.

The Ambassador made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, to discuss the government’s blueprint for tackling unemployment and how the American government could assist.

Dr. Ngige outlined government’s plans to reduce unemployment and appealed to the United States government to assist Nigeria

.

Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Waba, presented a national action plan for job creation to the Labour Minister while urging him to take job creation and security as priorities of his administration.

Some of the other issues discussed by the workers union were the National Minimum Wage, establishment of a Labour Advisory Council and employment of casual workers by some companies.

US Pledges Partnership With Nigeria On Security

US Pledges To Partner Nigeria On SecurityThe United States (US) government has pledged to assist Nigeria in finding ways to improve the security in the oil-rich nation.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, made the promise at a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazu in Abuja.

Mr Entwistle promised his country’s assistance in the areas of man power development to improve Nigeria’s internal security.

He said his first team of trainers on security governance initiative would be in Nigeria by January.

According to him, the Minister of Interior promised government’s continued partnersip with US on security matters.

The meeting between Mr Entwistle, Lieutenant General Dambazu was based on the need to sustain the achievements Nigeria had made in the north-east through sustained training of security personnel.

Nigeria’s Presidency To Restore U.S. Military Programme

US-Nigeria-ArmyNigeria’s Presidency seems set to reverse the decision by the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan on the cancellation of the military training of Nigerian Armed Forces in the United States.

Latest report indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari is now ready to restore the United States military program to train Nigerian troops.

The training has become necessary because of what government calls ‘growing aggression in the north-east’. The military has been tackling a terrorist group, the Boko Haram, in the region for over five years now.

The terrorists are trying to establish an Islamic State and end western education in the region.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, insists that Nigeria and the U.S. have military training agreement.

Mr Entwistle said:”We had at Nigeria’s request agreed to train some battalion. Some of the trainers in the world have been provided by the United States”.

Former President Jonathan on December 14, 2014, ended the US government’s training programme for Nigerian soldiers.

The Nigerian government requested for the suspension of the programme less than a month after Washington said it refused to sell the country Cobra attack helicopters.

“At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion,” the US Embassy in the capital, Abuja, said in an e-mailed statement.

US Celebrates 239th Independence, Pledges Support For Nigeria

usAs the United States (US) celebrates its 239th Independence Anniversary, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, has assured Nigeria of continued support towards a stronger democracy and a free and independent people.

Mr Entwistle said Nigeria’s freedom in different sectors of the economy, including its fight against corruption, insecurity, financial instability and infrastructure development will receive continued support from the US.

He noted that 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, adding that “Nigerians have no better friends than the US”.

He maintained that both countries had deep wounds and devastating losses through their histories.

”I told former President Goodluck Jonathan when I arrived in Nigeria in November 2013, and Secretary of State John Kerry told President Muhammadu Buhari when they met immediately after inauguration.

”I am sure President Barack Obama will tell President Buhari when he receives him in Oval Office at the White House on July 20.

”The people of Nigeria have no better friend than the United States.

”In my country, our commitment to democracy is right there in our Declaration of Independence.

”Here in Nigeria, you demonstrated to the world your commitment to democracy in historic elections earlier this year.

”In both of our great countries, commitment to democracy is deeply woven into our status as free and independent peoples,” Entwistle said.

He also said that the US stands with every Nigerian who believes that the country can be healthier, safer and more prosperous; as both countries have in time past worked together on issues like elections, security, Niger Delta, fighting infectious diseases and spurring broad-based.

“For me, this is an exciting time to be in Nigeria. In the past year, we’ve seen Nigerian doctors and nurses defeat Ebola.

“We’ve seen the Nigerian military reclaim territory from Boko Haram.

“And most of all, we’ve seen the Nigerian people go to the polls and defy expectations, made their voices heard as they insisted that their votes count.

“Thanks to them, the light of Nigerian democracy shines brightly across the continent,” he said.

The U.S. envoy said that as Nigeria fought Boko Haram and rebuilt the Northeast, the U.S. would continue to help in every appropriate way.

”As you lead the efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those driven from their communities and help them return home, we assist with food, medical care, and education programmes.

”As you fight corruption, we offer technical assistance, training for investigators and prosecutors, and a commitment to ensure that no stolen funds are laundered through our banking system.

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

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

”Among other things, we will help companies invest in building more electricity infrastructure, especially environmentally-friendly power generation.

”As you increase your commitment to health-care and education, we support those efforts too,” Entwistle added.

U.S. Reassures Nigeria Of Support In 2015 General Election

James-EntwistleThe United States Ambassador To Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, says the United States government remains committed to ensuring that the 2015 general elections will be free and fair.

Mr Entwistle, spoke in a meeting with officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja on Wednesday.

He appealed to Nigerians to shun acts that could incite violence‎.

The US Ambassador said that the United States would support Nigeria because of the long standing relationship between both countries.

“From our own historical experience, we understand the importance of election. The United States will support the Nigerian people in their quest to ensure a credible and transparent election that they want and deserve.

“That is what we stand for and as part of that, I will try to be in touch with all parties to understand them, so that we can be knowledgeable about the electoral process here.

“I think it is incumbent on all of us to work towards this. History shows us that one election can make the difference. It may not happen overnight, but genuine change in every society is only possible in a true democratic process,” he said.

Entwistle encouraged potential party candidates to publicly commit themselves to ensuring that “they would not encourage, foment or engage in violence before, during and after the elections”.

He asked Nigerians to come out en masse to participate in the voting exercise .

On his part,the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party,‎ Mr Adamu Muazu, said that the party remained committed to achieving credible elections in the country as exemplified in the just concluded Osun and Ekiti governorship elections and beyond.

“We will always present credible candidates who can win elections. We will continue to provide internal-driven democracy that will be driven by the people,” he said.

Mu’azu emphasied that President Goodluck Jonathan had continued to insist on a “one man, one vote”process which he said the party was proud of.

“We will, by the grace of God, work for the people of Nigeria. Our leader, the President has through our party, been campaigning that voting should be one man one vote.

“We take time to advertise this in national dailies to make sure that we will continue to have cordial relationship with the people and the international community,” he stressed.

 

U.S. To Establish Health Centres For Ebola In Nigeria

Ebola_healthworkersThe American government has promised to collaborate with Nigeria in containing the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, told reporters in Abuja on Monday, after a close door meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, that his government would partner with Nigeria in providing and managing Ebola emergency treatment centres across the country.

The Ambassador was, however, not specific as to whether or not, the American government would supply the experimental drug, which is currently being used in the United state, to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Professor Chukwu said the Nano Silver experimental drug for Ebola, which was provided by a Nigerian scientist was not used on the Nigerian medical doctor that survived the virus.

According to him, the use of the Nano Silver drug had been temporarily suspended for now.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave approval for the use of untested drugs in the treatment of Ebola patient, in an attempt to contain the disease it said was vastly underestimated. It said: “It is a public health emergency of international concern”.

WHO also said that extraordinary measures were needed to contain the disease that had claimed over 1100 lives in West Africa since it broke out this year.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, declared the outbreak of the disease a National Emergency and had approved an intervention fund of 1.9 billion Naira to contain the spread.

Ebola Virus was first detected in a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, who flew into Lagos, Nigeria and died on July 25.

Since his death, three more deaths have been recorded, all of which were persons that had primary contact with Late Sawyer before his death.