The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, has called on the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, to institute investigations into the circumstances surrounding the non-issuance of visas to the national u-17 female basketball team to the FIBA u-17 Championships in Spain and the disqualification of the national female boxing team to the Rio 2016 World Qualification Competition held in Kazakhstan.
The Spanish Consulate recently refused to issue visas to members of the national basketball team to the championship in Spain despite clearances by FIBA and the Spanish Basketball authority reportedly on the grounds of non-clearance by National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) and possible late submission of visa applications.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), the Spanish Consulate and NAPTIP have all denied responsibility for the failure of the trip with the NBBF explaining in a recent release that it duly informed and got responses from the customs and immigration authorities but NAPTIP failed to respond to it.
In the case of the female national boxing team which was sponsored by the Nigeria Army, they arrived late to the venue of the Olympic qualification competition in Kazakhstan and were barred from participating.
Lagos SWAN in a letter to the minister dated June 22 and signed by its chairman, Fred Edoreh and Secretary, Emma Njoku, pointed out to minister that both incidents amounted to “denial and embarrassment to the country, waste of the investment, time and efforts committed in preparing the athletes, infliction of emotional trauma and discouragement of the athletes.”
“As stakeholders in Nigerian sports, we view this development with deep concern as it retards the growth and progress of our sports, discourages potential sponsors and disaffects the athletes and members of the public,” Lagos SWAN added.
It called on the sports minister to “investigate the circumstances surrounding these failures and sanction culpable sports administrators or report any confirmed act of negligence or sabotage by either NAPTIP or the Spanish Embassy to government for necessary action as we can no longer afford to waste resources and continue to undermine the growth and progress of our sports.”