The US embassy has reportedly cancelled the visas of three members of the House of Representatives to the country. The affected were accused of attempted rape and soliciting for sex from prostitutes while on a trip to the United States.
The three representatives were among 10 lawmakers invited by the US government for the programme held between April 7 and 13, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The legislators, according to report, include: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue).
Reacting, however, Gbillah expressed surprise that within some hours of bringing the matter to the attention of the House, the US Government had gone ahead to cancel their visas.
He threatened to immediately institute legal actions against the US Government, the Ambassador and the Marriot Hotel Brand, among others for damages.
Part of Gbillah’s letter, which was dated June 16, read, “Without conclusive evidence of any sort or contact with any of the accused individuals, the US State Department and US Embassy in Nigeria have less than six days after your letter to the Speaker, gone ahead to revoke the US visas of the accused individuals based on hearsay from the employees of the hotel in Cleveland.
“Affected individuals received correspondence from the US Embassy on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, indicating the denial of their US visas and requesting that they bring their passports with the current US visa to the Embassy.”
The letter was copied to Dogara, the US Secretary of State, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Cleveland Council of World Affairs, and the President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International.
On his part, Ikon claimed that the allegation levelled against him was not only untrue but also a case of mistaken identity.
He stated, “My attention has been drawn to the publication, alleging an act of impropriety against me by the US Mission in Nigeria.
“I wish to state unequivocally that this is false and definitely not me.
“This, to me, is a case of mistaken identity and I have already instituted measures both legally and diplomatically to clear my name and the institution I represent.
“We do not comment on private diplomatic correspondence. Thank you very much for your inquiry,” the Mission’s Press Attaché, Sean McIntosh, said in an email.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has ordered immediate investigation into the case.