A United States Senator, Ted Cruz, has apologized over his disparaging comments on Monday, October 21 in which he referred to Nigerians as scammers.
He also called for a peace meeting with Nigerian-Americans who have demanded that he retracts the derogatory remarks.
According to local American media, Cruz, while taking a political swipe at the computer problems of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S, made the comments.
“You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately.
“They all have been hired to run the Obamacare website,” Cruz was quoted as saying on Monday in Houston.
Nigerians home and abroad have strongly condemned the statement, while the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Prof Ade Adefuye, demanded an apology from Mr. Cruz.
But a letter on Sunday from the senator to leaders of the Nigerian community in Houston, Texas, where the comments were made, said Cruz “regrets any misunderstanding.”
The letter was signed by one of the aides of the Senator, Mr. David Sawyer, the South-East Texas Regional Director in his office.
The letter of apology reads in parts: “Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz made a joke in which he used the term ‘Nigerian email scam.
“Senator Cruz regrets that it is unfortunate that we’re living in a time where just about every joke can be misconstrued to cause offense to someone.”
“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 the child of missionaries – no offense was intended.
“I am fully appreciative of the range of mutual economic and security interests that make Nigeria an important friend to the United States,” Cruz said apologetically.