The affected rep members were Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue), who were among 10 legislators invited by the U.S. government for the International Visitor Leadership Programme between April 7 and 13, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The hope of the three members to clear their names was denied them by the absence of the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, who was said to have interacted with the ambassador on the issue, was also absent
He wrote to the committee, saying: “I regret that I would not be able to attend the scheduled committee hearing as it coincides with the 29th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, which I will be attending in Kigali, Rwanda, from July 13-15, 2016.
“I would, however, be pleased to appear before the committee at any other time after my return from Kigali on July 19, 2016.”
The disparity in opinions of the Chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, and the Chairperson on Foreign Relations, Nnena Elendu-Ukejem, was glaring at the botched hearing.
Elendu-Ukeje said the Vienna Convention insulates the ambassador from being summoned while carrying out his duties in another country, and that the best course for the unravelling of the mystery behind the sex allegation was to allow the minister provide an enabling platform for an interaction between the committee and Entwistle.
However, Ossai believed Entwistle stripped himself of diplomatic immunity by circumventing the diplomatic channel of communication when he forsook the Foreign Affairs minister and wrote his letter of accusation to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
But Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, represented by its President, Mr. Ugwumamadu Malachy and The African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, represented by its Executive Director, David Ugolor, insisted the hearing ought to have continued.
They said it was imperative the matter be dispensed with as it affected the image of the country.