The three House of Representatives members recently exonerated of the sexual misconduct allegations levelled against them by the United States Government are set to file a $1bn suit against the latter and its agents
House Deputy Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Mr. Terse Mark-Gbillah (Benue); Mr. Samuel Ikon (Akwa Ibom); and Mr. Mohammed Garba-Gololo (Bauchi) had been accused by former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, of soliciting prostitutes, attempting to rape a hotel staff during an official visit to the US.
This prompted the Nigerian legislature to call for an investigation.
Only for the lawmakers to be exonerated on Tuesday after a report by its Joint Committees on Ethics/Privileges and Foreign Relations found no wrongdoing on their part.
Again, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, had appeared before the committees on July 21 to testify that the US did not produce any concrete evidence to prove the allegations.
Entwistle had also failed to appear before the committees, while a female maid, who alleged that Garba-Gololo “grabbed” her, also declined to testify.
Speaking with Saturday PUNCH on the outcome of the investigation, Mark-Gbillah disclosed that the three lawmakers would immediately institute a legal action against their accusers – the US Government, Entwistle, the Marriot Hotel, the US Embassy and their agents in the US and sue 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expressed regrets that they would be unable to visit the US physically to file the suit because their visas, which were withdrawn in the wake of the “false allegations”, had not been restored.
“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.
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.”