The US Ambasador’s Letter That Caused A Stir In House of Reps

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, wrote this
letter to the Speaker House of Representatives,
Hon. Yakubu Dogara on June 9, 2016.
It reads:
“It is with regret that I must bring to your attention to the following
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
Such incidents jeopardise the ability of future programming and make host
institutions and organisations less likely to welcome similar visits in the
“In addition, most of the members of this
group reacted very negatively to my deputy when she brought this matter to
their attention, further calling into question their judgement and commitment
to the goals of the International Visitor Leadership Programme.
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.”