Team Nigeria camp at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics is in disarray as athletes are protesting over their disqualification from the Games.
Competent source in Tokyo hinted that the athletes, in a peace protest, were sighted in the Games Village with placards to express their grievances.
The placards on display have various inscriptions such as ‘All we want to do is to compete’, ‘We are not just alternatives but potential medalists’, ‘Why should we suffer because of somebody else’s negligence’.
Ten 10 Nigerian athletes were disqualified from participating in Tokyo due to the sports federation’s failure to adhere to the mandatory pre-Olympics conditions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has stepped in to stem further crisis.
The Director, Federation of Elites Athletes Department, Dr. Simon Ebhojiaye, said the ministry is abreast of the situation on the ground and is addressing them.
He disclosed that payment of various allowances had commenced since last week, and is ongoing. Ebhojiaye also said that the ministry is addressing some of the issues raised by the athletes.
“The Honourable Minister on Thursday morning in a meeting spoke directly with the 10 track & field athletes who will not be competing and assured them of their welfare.
“He apologized to them over the unfortunate development that led to their exclusion and promised that it would be fully investigated,” he said.
He also said that the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, intervened over the IOC packs for the athletes.
“Working with the NOC, the minister and NOC President on Friday morning were able to secure approval. No official of Team Nigeria or NOC took away of the entitlements of any athlete as was being wrongly reported.
“The issue over the phone was resolved administratively according to the IOC rules and guidelines. Team Nigerian officials acted in line with IOC standards and as soon as approval was received, the right thing was done.”
Ebhojiaye said the IOC approved that the 10 Nigerian athletes receive Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, and that the letter of approval for their release was signed by Jonas Brun, the Junior Project Manager, NOC Relations/ NOC Services