The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, took to social media in the early hours of Saturday, to react to the allegation of sexual misconduct leveled against three members of the House by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, challenging the US to prove the allegations.
“He who alleges must prove,” he said via his Twitter handle @speakerdogara. “That’s the law.”
“As we speak no evidence has been put forward other than the letter sent to my office and copied to many others.
“Together with the US Embassy in Nigeria we will get to the bottom of this matter and until then let’s not be judgemental,”he tweeted.
He further pointed out that under Nigeria’s laws, an accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty and he enjoys the benefit of any doubt.
“Social media trial and conviction of members alleged to have committed the offence is taking up arms against our laws,” Dogara, who said he was “awfully embarrassed,” tweeted, while calling on Nigerians not judge the lawmakers yet.
He advised Nigerians to refrain from passing judgment and wait for the outcome of investigation by the parliament.
The Speaker maintained that as ambassadors of the House and indeed, the entire country, the lawmakers at the middle of the scandal would have known not to bring dishonour to the institution they represent.
He vowed that the House would conduct an investigation into allegations, emphasising that apart from the letter, no evidence had been forwarded to his office, and that there can be no conviction without a trial.
He also revealed that the lawmakers had indicated that they were prepared to defend themselves at their own cost but however, denied the attempted rape allegation as reported by a section of the media, saying that the issue of attempted rape was not alluded to in the letter.