According to reports, the three members of the House of Representatives cleared of allegations of patronizing commercial sex workers in the United States of America few months ago have vowed to sue the country’s government for $1bn.
The lawmakers are House Deputy Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Mr. Terse Mark-Gbillah (Benue); Mr. Samuel Ikon (Akwa Ibom); and Mr. Mohammed Garba-Gololo (Bauchi).
Recall that a former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, had accused the three lawmakers of committing the alleged misconduct during a visit to his country last April for a leadership training programme.
However, the House set up a committee to investigate the matter and eventually exonerated the lawmakers after a report by its Joint Committees on Ethics/Privileges and Foreign Relations found no wrongdoing on their part.
One of the accused lawmakers, Mark-Gbillah told Punch that the three lawmakers would immediately institute a legal action against their accusers in the US.
Mark-Gbillah, who spoke for the three lawmakers, stated that the US Government, Entwistle, the Marriot Hotel, the US Embassy and their agents would be sued for damages.
This will be in addition to demanding what he called “internationally-published apology.”
He expressed regrets that they would be unable to visit the US physically to file the suit because their visas, which were withdrawn in the wake of the “false allegations”, had not been restored.
Mark-Gbillah gave details of the steps the members would take, saying, “We won’t let the matter go like that because our reputation has been defamed internationally and there is also the cancellation of our visas to consider, a decision that has still not been reversed.
“In the American archives, the records have not been set straight. As a matter of fact, this has already affected the members of one of our families.
“We will be seeking legal redress in the US; we are going to take the hotel to court, the Marriot Hotel, the parent brand, the place we stayed (in the US). We are going to take the (former US) ambassador himself and the US State Department, who are his employers to court. We are going to be taking the local organisers of the programme to court as well.
“We will be seeking among other things, an internationally-published apology to us as individuals, to the National Assembly and to Nigeria by the US Government.
“We are going to be seeking damages from all concerned parties and right now, we are looking at suing in the region of $1bn.
“Already, contacts have been made with various law firms in the US. We want to use a very reputable law firm.
“You can now see that the revocation of our visas is now hindering our ability to visit the US physically to do the ground work. We are liaising with our lawyers via email messages and telephone calls.
“The lawyers will still advise us on whether to ask for damages of up to $10bn because the damage they did to us can’t be quantified in financial terms.”