The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that the United States revoked the visas for three lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct because of their “aggressive” behaviour at the US embassy in Abuja.
The legislators accused of misconduct are Mohammed Garba Gololo (Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (Benue).
The cancellation of the visas was made public by Gbillah in a letter written to the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.
Speaking yesterday with newsmen in Abuja, Onyeama said the some members of the House of Representatives went to the embassy and at a point became aggressive and their discussions with the officials degenerated to the point that they walked out.
The minister said the ambassador told him the decision to revoke the visa three years was right.
“The fact that their visas had been withdrawn for three years, there have been a lot of talks as to why there should be sanctions when there is no evidence. Any embassy here has total control about giving visas or revoking visas.”
He added: “I told [the lawmakers] that revoking the visas might not have just been as a result of the allegations, but that their behaviour at the embassy here in Abuja certainly did not help their case.”
According to Onyeama, high-ranking officials should maintain the highest level of good behaviour, decency, and basic respect.
The minister also explained why the US envoy failed to attend before the House when he was summoned to present evidence on the charges of sexual misconduct against the three lawmakers. “You can’t summon an ambassador to appear before a national institution because he is the head of state of his country where he’s serving, and he enjoys sovereign immunity,” he said.
According to him, the act of inviting the US ambassador to appear before the House is actually bringing ridicule to the Nigerian House of Reps and shows a lack of understanding of diplomatic agreement.