By Emmanuel Adeleke
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate return of Nigeria to international basketball competitions.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday.
He said the decision was based on a letter of appeal from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), signed by Musa Kida.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, being one that is committed to youth development and desirous of ensuring that they are availed of all opportunities in sports and other endeavours considered the appeal and in the overriding spirit of national interest, love for our youth, and in order to avoid sending basket development into a long period of suspension when NBBF have now committed to the resolution of the issues which precipitated the withdrawal in the first place has approved the return of Nigeria to international basketball immediately.
“In securing this approval, of note is the caution that 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 to do this, as with any constitutionally bound sovereign nation will attract sanctions,” Abubakar said
He explained that 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 and development of basketball among other things.”
The Permanent Secretary added that Buhari asked the ministry to ensure the implementation of the undertakings signed by the NBBF and report back to him on its progress.
Before the reversal of the ban, FIBA had replaced the Nigeria with Mali, ahead of the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia later in the year.