Commonwealth Games: Sports ministry to pay protesting wrestlers

Posted on Feb 26 2018 - 11:31pm by admin

Idris Adesina

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation Daniel Igali has stepped in to resolve the threat by the country’s wrestlers to boycott the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to an alleged non-payment of their camp allowances by the sports ministry.

In a letter dated February 17 and addressed to Igali, the wrestlers through their representatives Daniel Amas and Blessing Oborududu alleged that they had not been treated fairly despite their achievements in the last one year.

“We sadly wish to inform you that we are boycotting the Commonwealth Games camp due to non-payment of our allowances as promised,” the letter read in part.

“It will be recalled that we are yet to be appreciated by the federation after the African Wrestling Championship in Morocco and the World Wrestling Championships last year. Also, our allowances for the Championship in Spain are yet to be paid irrespective of your assurances.

“Sir, the team to the 2017 AfroBasket were received by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari. It is no news that the home-based Eagles who won silver in Africa are scheduled to see the President on February 28.

“We dominated Africa in 2017 in Morocco; we won a silver medal at the World Championship in France and recently dominated Africa again in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. As we speak, we are yet to be paid our allowances for the African Championships.

 “It appears that we are being treated as second-class citizens in Nigeria. Our good performances are yet to be appreciated. These are the reasons why we have taken this decision.”

Captain of the women’s team Oborududu refused to comment on the issue. Oborududu told our correspondent that the issues were being resolved but failed to give an assurance of a date for their return to training.

“I don’t have comments on it yet because things are being resolved,” she said.

However, Igali, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday, said the NWF was working with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ensure that the wrestlers were paid and returned to camp.

“The wrestlers’ decision came as a shock to me but the Permanent Secretary of the sports ministry (Olusade Adesola) has come to meet with them,” he said.

“The secretary listened to their grievances and promised that the ministry would ensure that they get their allowances before the Games.”

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