News / USA

Nigerian Americans Offended by Senator's Joke

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) answers questions during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, Oct. 24, 2013.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) answers questions during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, Oct. 24, 2013.
VOA News
A comment made in jest by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has offended some Nigerians in the United States.

During an appearance in his home state of Texas this week, the Republican Party lawmaker referenced what he called "Nigerian e-mail scammers."

Senator Cruz was speaking about technical glitches on a new U.S. government web site that have prevented Americans from buying health insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act, or "Obamacare."

Cruz, who has voiced opposition to the measure, jokingly said "You know the Nigerian e-mail scammers? They have been a lot less active lately because they have all been hired to run the Obamacare web site."

The Nigerian embassy in Washington has called Cruz's remarks "unguided." In a statement, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador B.E. Archibong, said the embassy views the comments as a "very expensive joke that was taken too far."

Senator Cruz's comments have also been criticized by the Nigerian-American Leadership Council.

In a VOA interview, Executive Director Sam Okey Mbonu said Cruz should issue a "clarification."

"It is certainly not the most responsible statement from a United States senator," he said. "We believe that partisanship has its limits and one does not establish credibility on a national platform by running down a section of the American community."

Okey Mbonu said some Nigerian Americans would consider the joke offensive.

"It is certainly insensitive," he.said "For a senator who perhaps has some medium-term plans for being in the public for a long period of time, we think that those kinds of comments should be well thought out."

The Texas-based KTRK broadcast station says a spokesman for Senator Cruz reacted, saying the senator was "making a joke based on the official term of a commonly utilized type of scam."

He said the senator did not mean to be offensive.

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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Lanre.azeez from: Dallas's
October 29, 2013 12:58 PM
That is an expensive joke.not all Nigeria criminals we have criminals offenders all over the world why mention nigeria.dont let any one fool you with e mail scan with free money nothing is free don't get scan. And don't be greedy looking for free money on the net.and don't do biz with the person you don't know.

by: barbBland
October 28, 2013 7:21 PM
Mr cruz, your cuban father bribed himself Into canada illegaly. Married a us citizen also illigal. You are not a legal in usa. Go back to canada. Better yet Cuba

by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
October 24, 2013 1:55 PM
Offended? Really? I receive email scams from Nigerian email scammers all the time. THEY OFFEND ME! Just what is the Nigerian-American doing to stop these scammers?

I am also tired of everyone wanting to be politically correct so someone won’t be offended. You know what I find offensive? Not being able to speak freely. If you happen to be offended, maybe the problem is with you, not me.
In Response

by: TOBA LaCrown from: NYC
October 26, 2013 12:13 PM
Bearman should understand that his rejoinder is totally off. As a former cop with the city, it was confirmed that not every of such emails actually came from Nigerians. A whole lot of people hid in disguise and send those emails. One thing I have always told people in my years of working with victims of such cries is that such individuals are fraudsters themselves. If not, it would not have been easier to defraud someone with a honest dealings. To know if some of us are doing sth is to research the frequency of such emails. Do not write out of ignorance
In Response

by: Bayor from: Canada
October 26, 2013 7:56 AM
Fraud or e-mail scam knows no colour, neither does it resides in a geographical entity. So are also the victims. It fosters within the global network of collaborators (black/white/pink/red/brown/yellow) and only thrives wherever there is a strange harmony between a pathetic liar and a greedy imbecile. Anyone who has got common sense should be able to read 'in-between' the lines and see that all these mails don't make any intelligent sense. It is so loud and clear. There is no free dollars anywhere! Government agencies have done a good job in creating much awareness about this and if people are listening, these fraudsters should be out of business by now. Hence, for a senator to play such an expensive and insensitive joke and to use a 'paint-brushed' statement and to 'pin' this crime only to a geographical entity simply tell of his level of thoughtfulness.... just a little below zero... I mean negative. It also shows how fast he is loosing touch with the reality of the world we live in and the kind of 'leader' he is. I guess his IQ balance must be reading into 'RED' after loosing a 21hrs battle against OBAMA CARE. He is, perhaps, operating on a completely depleted reserves .... He needs to be quiet for a while. Silence sometimes is golden. Just calling a spade 'a spade' and no insult intended....

by: dee from: d.c.
October 24, 2013 1:39 PM
what a complete non-story. i'm of Nigerian ancestry and am not offended. What's to be offended about? He reference a known group of scammers- the Nigerian 411. What did he lie about? In fact, the article couldn't even validate that the "Nigerian American community" or whatever was offended. Just because one ambassador from Nigeria voiced a slight displeasure with the comments doesn't mean "Nigerian Americans are offended".
Maybe this is an attempt of the pro-Obama media to blast another Republican with a non-story...
In Response

by: Axeman777 from: london
October 28, 2013 5:15 AM
If u were of nigerian ancestry, u would know itz called 419 NOT 411...

Would it also be okay if i said americans are terrorists and criminals by killing innocent men women and children with drones???

by: Felix from: Texas
October 24, 2013 1:12 PM
The man has, so far, proven to be an idiot and a joke. Maybe, because he is still finding his footing in DC, or he is just one of those that close doors after they walk through it, I don't know.

The truth is,I have never regretted voting for this man.

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