ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian lawmaker on Friday accused the U.S. Embassy of defamation following its complaint that he and another colleague tried to hire sex workers while on a State Department exchange program in Ohio.
Mark Gbillah told The Associated Press the allegation was a baseless attempt to tarnish the reputation of Nigeria's House of Representatives.
The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria submitted complaints about the behavior of Gbillah and two colleagues, Samuel Ikon and Mohammed Garba Gololo, to the House of Representatives this month, said Turaki Hassan, spokesman for House Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Gbillah said he and Ikon were accused of asking parking attendants at their hotel in Cleveland to find sex workers for them. He said the claim made no sense because "we didn't go with cars."
Gololo, meanwhile, was accused of making inappropriate advances toward a hotel employee. In a written response to the embassy, he said he "never grabbed any housekeeper or solicited sex."
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Friday he would not comment "on private diplomatic correspondence."
Nigerian media reported that the three lawmakers were in the U.S. as participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program, which invites "current and emerging foreign leaders" for short-term stays in the country.
Associated Press writer Robbie Corey-Boulet contributed to this report from Abidjan, Ivory Coast.