The Nigeria Embassy in Washington on Friday formally protested the slandering of its citizens as 'scammers' by U.S. Senator, Ted Cruz of Texas, on Monday.
"You are no doubt aware of the reaction of Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to a statement credited to your good self on the above.
"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," Ade Adefuye, Nigeria's Ambassador to the U.S., said in a letter addressed to the congressman on Friday.
"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.
"Distinguished senator, I am sure you are sufficiently familiar with the constructive contributions which Nigerians have made to economic, social and political lives of Texas, especially in the Houston area.
"Every country has its own share of law breakers. To use the activities of few as an opportunity to cast aspersions on the integrity of a country and its people is not only unfair but also excessively offensive.
"You yourself made the point that the so-called e-mail scammers have disappeared from the scene. But it is not because they were recruited to work on Obamacare.
"It is because of the successful efforts of our government working through the embassy and the international law enforcing agents to curb the activities of these few law breakers," the envoy said.
He, however, noted that it was not the practice of any Nigerian diplomatic mission to interfere in the domestic affairs of the host country.
Mr. Adefuye added that Nigeria would not sit back, fold its arms while a politician assaulted the integrity of the country and people in the process of appeasing the base instincts of a few misguided elements in his constituency.
"Distinguished senator, the least we can say is that Nigerians feel offended by you. They demand an apology," Mr. Adefuye said.
More Nigerians react.
More Nigerians have expressed displeasure over the remarks made Mr. Cruz.
Mr. Cruz was quoted as saying that the new Affordable Care Act exchange Website of the U.S. was being run by Nigerian email scammers.
"You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately," Mr. Cruz was quoted by U.S. media as saying at a gathering with supporters in Houston. "They all have been hired to run the Obamacare website."
Habib Habu, the Consul General, Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, urged the senator to withdraw the comment and offer unreserved apology to Nigeria and Nigerians.
"I would remind Senator Cruz that Nigerians are the most educated immigrant community in the U.S.
"There is no sphere of human endeavour that a Nigerian has not excelled in the U.S...
"Nigeria doesn't deserve this unfortunate and unwarranted maligning of its people for a cheap political shot," Mr. Habu said in a note to the North America correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.
Acho Orabuchi, a Nigerian Community leader in the U.S., said it was rather unfortunate and unbecoming of a Senator of the U.S. to denigrate another country, especially a friendly country to the U.S...
"For Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to ridicule and disparage Nigeria and its citizens in an effort to appeal to his Tea Party congregation or political base is beneath his esteemed office.
"In fact, I'm appalled and terribly disappointed in Sen. Ted Cruz's comment about Nigeria.
"Nigeria is a peace-loving country that cherishes its friendship with the U.S., I hope that people like Sen. Cruz would not strain a relationship that has been nurtured for so long.
"It will be appropriate for Sen. Cruz to apologise to Nigeria and Nigerians, who are law-abiding citizens of the U.S," Mr. Orabuchi said.