• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Reps summon US Envoy, as Foreign Affairs Minister faults petition to Speaker

The House of Representatives has formalise the invitation of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Erstwhile to appear before the Committee on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs, to clear air on the sexual misconduct allegation leveled against three members of the House of Representatives.

James Erstwhile
United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Erstwhile

The letter dated 21st July, 2016 was signed by Ossai Nicholas Ossai, chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, in which the Committee expressed displeasure over the inordinate response of the Envoy to previous invitation extended to him.

The decision followed the unanimously taken after the interactive session with Geoffrey Onyeama, Ministry of Foreign Affairs who described the Ambassador’s petition on the sexual misconduct as ‘ambiguous’.
Onyeama who gave update on the communication with the US Ambassador told the Committee that the Envoy has apologised for breaching the communication channel.

He further noted that the US envoy “confirmed that the allegations were made, but what he doesn’t say here necessary and he told me was that, the hotel, house keeper in the hotel has refused to testify in respect of the matter.”

Onyeama however noted that the Ambassador “did not present any evidence nor did he indicate that they have any corroborative evidence.”

The Minister maintained that the allegation is based on weak foundation, “defamatory and could lead to legal consequences.

He further noted that “the house keeper refused to testify further,” adding that the Ambassador “was surprised that the House Keeper refused to testify.”

While reacting, some of the lawmakers queried the rationale behind the cancellation of the visas of the members accused if they were not adjudged guilty.

In response to the question, the Minister said “We don’t know the working of the US government The US have discretion on their visa. They don’t have to give any reason for why they must have taken any step.”

While speaking, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, chairman of the joint Committee noted that the development will serve as reminder to members “to be sure they don’t put themselves in such a situation as it could lead to Nigeria not participation in such a programme in the future.

“Its to tell him to ensure that his people do not jeopardize the programme in the future. There is a strong basis for legal proceedings for DFA’s action,” he noted.