The Federal Government has announced the lifting of a two-year ban of Nigeria from international basketball following a letter of appeal from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) board signed by Musa Kida and dated June 17, 2022 addressed to the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
Addressing the media in Abuja on Thursday in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, said intervention by concerned stakeholders, former Nigerian international basketball players and well meaning Nigerians to seek for solutions to the issues triggered the decision.
He said following the presidential approval withdrawing Nigeria from international basketball competition for two years, a number of significant developments have since occurred.
“The letter of appeal (from Musa Kida) among other things apologized to Mr President and the Minister over the embarrassment the developments around basketball and the conduct of some stakeholders has brought upon Nigeria.
“The letter appealed to the minister to use his good offices to approach President Buhari for the reversal of the 2-year withdrawal of Nigeria from international basketball competitions.
“The appeal letter also critically gave some key undertakings: to immediately set in motion the process of status review or constitutional amendments from stakeholders as collated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, to set up a high-powered team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family at home and abroad and a commitment to work with the Ministry in the governance of basketball among other things. Above all, the compliance of NBBF to the issues at stake made this possible.
“Flowing from the above and upon a review, the FMYSD approached Mr President and placed these developments before him. President Muhammadu Buhari, being one that is committed to youth development and desirous of ensuring that they are availed all opportunities in sports and other endeavours considered the appeal and in the overriding spirit of national interest, love for youth and in order to avoid sending basketball into a long period of suspension when NBBF has now committed to resolution of the issues which precipitated the withdrawal in the first place has approved the return of Nigeria to international basketball immediately.”
The permanent secretary sounded a note of caution saying the laws of Nigeria cannot be subjugated to any other law and every Nigerian entity must respect Nigerian laws and authority governing various sectors failure of which he said will attract sanctions. He added that those who lead government organisations including the sports federations hold such positions in trust for the government and people of Nigeria under the direct supervision of the Minister of Youth and Sports.