• Protesters paid to blackmail ex-federation boss – Ahmedu
Hundreds of placard-carrying protesters, who claimed to be basketball players and wearing shirts with the inscription ‘Kida must go’, protested in Abuja on Thursday against the re-election of Musa Ahmadu-Kida as President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
The protestors marched from Area 10 Old Parade, Garki to Unity Fountain, Maitama, demanding that Ahmadu-Kida did not impose himself on the federation for another term.
The outgoing board had been under scathing criticisms from D’Tigress players, who won the 2021 Women’s AfroBasket in Cameroon.
The players, in a video which went viral, demanded that they be paid their financial entitlements from their participation in the 2017 AfroBasket, as well as presidential recognition.
They also threatened to boycott the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia if their demands were not met.
In a video posted on the team’s official Instagram on Tuesday, the players accused Ahmadu-Kida of neglecting the team during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2021 AfroBasket.
The players also accused the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the NBBF of withholding their bonuses and allowances, totalling $197,118, which included the $100,000 donated to them by banks before the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
The NBBF, however, termed the protests as cheap blackmail on the person of Ahmadu-Kida ahead of the federation’s elections set for October 30 in Bencity, the Edo State capital.
Col Sam Ahmedu (retd.), a member of Ahmadu-Kida’s board, said the protest was politically motivated to tarnish the image of Ahmadu-Kida ahead of the forthcoming elections.
“This is politics. Ahmadu-Kida said a constitution has been approved for the elections but they want the ministry to stop him from contesting, why?” Ahmedu told The PUNCH.
“You can’t stop anyone from running for a position in the federation. If you think you have a better candidate, bring him. They don’t have a candidate to push forward and they’re working to bring Ahmadu-Kida down.
“One thing is clear, no one from the federation embezzled D’Tigress money. The money is in the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ahmadu-Kida does not control the bank. The (sports) ministry collected the money and not Ahmadu-Kida.
“Secondly, the federation does not pay athletes training grants, it’s the ministry’s responsibility. Ahmadu-Kida raised over $100,000 to take D’Tigress to Cameroon. I think someone is instigating them. Ahmadu-Kida has spent too much of his own money on the federation to be so insulted,” Ahmedu added.
Meanwhile, the sports ministry has summoned Ahmadu-Kida and former NBBF president Tijjani Umar to an emergency meeting on October 18.
This was contained in a notice obtained by The PUNCH.
According to the notice, the aim of the meeting is to find lasting solution to the raging crises rocking the NBBF.
The PUNCH reports that several crisis have rocked the federation following allegations of misappropriation of funds, backlog of owed allowances and an ongoing tussle between the camps of Ahmadu-Kida and Umar, who had led another faction of the NBBF.
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