They are House Deputy Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Terse Mark-Gbillah (Benue); Samuel Ikom (Akwa Ibom); and Mohammed Garba-Gololo (Bauchi), who were recently cleared of the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against them by the United States Government are set to file a $1bn suit against the latter and its agents, PUNCH reports.
The lawmakers were accused of sexual misconduct when they went for a leadership training in the US April this year. James Entwistle, a former US Ambassador to Nigeria had made the allegations in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
When an investigation was launched into the case, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who appeared before a joint committee on Ethics & Privileges and Foreign Relations, said that the former ambassador could not provide concrete evidence to prove his allegations.
Also, Onyeama said that the female maid who alleged Gololo “grabbed” her, also declined to testify.
Gbillah, while speaking with PUNCH said that the US Government, Entwistle, the Marriot Hotel, the US Embassy and their agents would be sued for damages.
He also said that they will demand an “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expressed regrets that they would be unable to visit the US physically to file the suit because their visas, which were withdrawn in the wake of the “false allegations”, had not been restored.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.
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.
Ikom confirmed to PUNCH that Gbillah spoke for the group. “Gbillah is our spokesperson. Whatever he has said is what we are going to do. For me, there is no comment again,” he said.