Reps to probe denial of Turkish visa to Nigerian athletes
The House of Representatives yesterday mandated its committees on sports and Foreign Affairs to investigate the reasons Nigeria’s athletes were denied visas by the Turkish embassy to attend a qualifying tournament in Istanbul.
The House also tasked the panel to invite the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC) to ascertain if some other Federations were facing the same problems encountered by the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, with a view to resolving them on time.
The committee has seven days to report back to the House.
This was the outcome of a resolution of the chamber following a motion of urgent public importance brought by Henry Daniel Ofongu calling on the parliament to intervene in the imbroglio.
Leading debate on the motion, Ofongu disclosed that the Nigerian wrestling team for Rio Olympic 2016 applied for Visas and was issued same by the USA embassy to attend the first Olympic tournament with one athlete, Miss Odunayo Adekoroya’s medal at the world championship meaning she qualified for the 2016 Olympic.
The lawmaker further told the members that the team also applied for Visas a week before the second Olympic Continental Qualifying Tournament in Algiers, and was issued Visas to attend the tournament, where five members of the team also qualified for the Olympics.
He noted, however, with sadness that the wrestling federation’s technical crew deemed it necessary to attend the third qualifying tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, in order to increase the number of qualified wrestlers, so as to increase the number of possible medals in the Rio Olympic Games. Unfortunately, they were denied visas.
“The technical crew is made up of Daniel Igali, President, Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Mr. Victor Kodei, coach of the Wrestling Federation and Miss Onyebuchi Blessing 75kg female wrestler, who is one of the possible medalists in her category,” he said.
The lawmaker informed the chamber that there awerere several competitions and qualifying tournaments the Nigerian Olympic team, which is made up of other athletes in other federations, need to attend tom qualify for the Rio Games.