THE Senate has condemned the inability of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to pay the protesting Super Falcons their entitlements, asking the sports ministry and the NFF to pay the players immediately. The lawmakers on Wednesday, December 7, lamented the trend of maltreatment of Nigerian athletes before, during and after international competitions.
Senator Obinna Ogba, chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, while moving a motion by raising a point of order, decried the treatment meted out to the victorious team. He condemned the unfair treatment of the girls, despite making the country proud at the competition.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce criticised the federal government and sports administrators in the country. “We care about structures, we don’t care about people. It is a disgrace what is happening to the Super Falcons, boxers and other athletes. Governments in Nigeria do not care about human being; they only care about awarding contracts.”
Ike Ekweremadu, deputy president of the Senate, who presided over the plenary, congratulated the Falcons, while asking the NFF and Solomon Dalung, minister of youths and sports, to do the needful so as to encourage a winning habit.
Also, the federal government on Wednesday attributed its inability to meet the demands of the victorious Super Falcons to what it called biting economic situation. Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said this while answering questions from State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, admitting that it had become a tradition for the government to reward sportsmen and women who emerged victorious in international events.
He, however, expressed the belief that the issue would be sorted out.
The Falcons had won the African Women’s Cup of Nations for the eighth time in Cameroon on Saturday, December 3. But the NFF has not paid members of the team their allowances and bonuses because of cash crunch, forcing them to protest.
The players had seized the trophy they won at the African Women’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon on Saturday, saying they would not release it until they are paid their allowances and bonuses totalling N238.05 million. They had threatened that if President Muhammadu Buhari refused to address their grievances at the Federal Executive Council’s meeting on Wednesday, they would march through Abuja streets to press home their demand.
The players had claimed that the debt the Nigeria Football Federation owed each of the 23 players, which included allowances and match bonuses since the team started camping for the tournament, amounted to $25,000 (about N11.25 million.
They said they would not only remain in their hotel in Abuja until NFF and the federal government meet their demands, but they would not also release the trophy until they receive alert of the payment. They said they could no longer be deceived by the rhetoric by the federation to get back to them.
— Dec 19, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT