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US Accuses Nigerian Parliamentarians of Rape

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The Government of the United States of America has written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, accusing three members of the Green Chamber of rape during their visit to the US in April 2016 ‎for a leadership programme.

The US Government claimed that the lawmakers asked for the assistance of a hotel parking attendant to solicit for prostitutes at ‎their residence in ‎Downtown Cleveland Ohio.

However, Eagle Online reports that one of the affected lawmakers, Hon.‎ Mark Terseer Gbillah, denied the allegation and threatened to institute legal action against the US Embassy in Nigeria over the allegation.‎

Other lawmakers accused of the crimes are Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi) .

Mark said: “It has come to my attention that via correspondence from your good self to Dogara you have made serious allegation against me and other members of the Green Chamber group that visited US in April 2016 as part of international visitors leadership Programme.

“In your letter you claimed that I was identified as one of the members of the aforementioned group who asked for the assistance of a hotel parking attendant to solicit for prostitutes at the residence Inn Downtown Cleveland Ohio. I am extemely, shocked it as attempt to cast aspersion on lawmakers.”‎

The petition read by the US Embassy in Nigeria to Dogara reads: “It is with regret that I must bring to your attention the following situation. Ten members of the Nigerian National Assembly recently travelled to Cleveland, Ohio as participants in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on good governance. We received troubling allegations regarding the behaviour of three members of the delegation to the U.S. Government’s flagship professional exchange programme.

“The U.S. Department of State and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs received reports from employees of the Cleveland hotel where the representatives stayed, alleging the representatives engaged in the following behaviour: “Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited her for sex.

“While the housekeeper reported this to her management, this incident could have involved local law enforcement and resulted in legal consequences for Representative Gololo. Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants assist them to solicit prostitutes.

“The U.S. Mission took pains to confirm these allegations and the identities of the individuals with the employees of the hotel in Cleveland.

“The conduct described above left a very negative impression of Nigeria, casting a shadow on Nigeria’s National Assembly, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and to the American hosts’ impression of Nigeria as a whole. Such conduct could affect some participants’ ability to travel to the United States in the future.

“While the majority of Nigerian visitors to the United States do behave appropriately, even a few Nigerians demonstrating poor judgement leads to a poor impression of the Nigerian people generally, though it is far from accurate. Such incidents jeopardise the ability of future programming and make host institutions and organisations less likely to welcome similar visits in the future.”

“I request, in the strongest possible terms, you share this message with members of the National Assembly so they understand the seriousness of these issues, and the potential consequences of their actions, not only for themselves as individuals, but also for the future of such programmes designed to benefit Nigeria.”

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