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In a letter written to Rev. Felix Awotola, who represents the Nigerian community in Houston Texas, Cruz’s South-east Texas Regional Director, David Sawyer, said it was all a joke when his principal referred to Nigerian e-mail scam.
According to Sawyer, “it is unfortunate that we’re living in a time just about every joke is misconstrued to cause an offence to someone. Senator Cruz has never nor would ever use a blanket term in a derogatory fashion against such a vibrant and integral part of our community. This usage was never directed to the Nigerian community as a whole
“To the good people of Nigeria- a beautiful nation where my wife lived briefly as a child of missionaries, no offence was intended. I am fully appreciated of the range of mutual economic and security interests which make Nigeria an important friend to the United States.”
Sawyer said the term was in common usage as a recognised scam by the FBI and State Department, a common vernacular used by the media, adding: “Senator Cruz regrets any misunderstanding.”
Intimating the Nigerian ambassador to the US, Professor Ade Adefuye, Adetula said he was pleased to note that Cruz was now gradually beginning to swallow his words, as could be seen from Sawyer’s letter.
“They have called on the phone for a meeting at the highest possible level to end this matter once and for all. A condition for my acceptance to be present at the meeting is for Cruz himself to be personally present otherwise I will send my chief of protocol. We are determined to make this case an example that Nigeria and Nigerians cannot be kicked around,” he said.
Earlier at an ABC interview, Adetula on behalf of the Nigerian community in Houston, Texas condemned the statement that put Nigerians in bad light with a spate of condemnations over the statement coming from a number of distinguished Nigerian professionals led by Ambassador Adefuye.
Adefuye had asked Cruz to offer unreserved apology to Nigerians over the statement that the new Affordable Care Act Exchange Website of the US was being run by Nigerian email scammers.
According to him, Nigerians at home and in the US were shocked to hear that the leading Republican Senator who spearheaded the recent shutdown of the Obama Administration could be associated with such a remark, which till date has not been denied by Cruz.
Said Adefuye: “For a start we are shocked that a high profile Senator of a country which is at the forefront in building a peaceful and stable world in which nations and peoples treat each other with mutual respect could be engaged in an act which offends the sensitivities of an important component of his constituency.
“Our immediate reaction at the Embassy is to assume that you were wrongly quoted and that the statement would be denied. We are however surprised that this has not happened. We have no choice than to assume that the statement was deliberately made by you.”