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Nigerian lawmakers who patronized prostitutes: Another side of the story

It was reported in the early hours of today that the US Embassy had canceled the visas of the three Nigerian Lawmakers who allegedly patronized prostitutes during their stay in the United States on invitation of the US government from April 7 and 13, 2016 at the Marriott  Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.

The accused legislators, according to report, include: Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue). They were part of the 10 lawmakers invited by the US government for the programme.

As expected, all three accused have denied the claims and Gbillah has since released a statement which reads: “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 the other hand, 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.”

My point here is this; before we dive into the whole wild fire this is generating, let us first consider the Basics.

Basics 101A: They were accused of “attempted rape and soliciting for sex from prostitutes while on a trip to the United States”. When has patronizing prostitutes become attempted rape?

Basics 101B: When has it become an international crime to patronize prostitutes to the extend that it leads to immediate cancellation of visas. Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking sides with these lawmakers but ain’t you aware of what Americans and other foreign diplomats do here in Nigeria regarding patronizing prostitutes?

Basic 101c: Why wasn’t a proper investigation carried out and the accused contacted before action taken?

I may be wrong and seen as one attempting to build castles in the air, but I think everyone needs to be given the benefit of doubt. Besides, if this is the way it goes, then I believe the visas of every foreign diplomat in this country needs to be revoked!

Please leave your comments below, I am interested in hearing your thoughts, thank you.

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