Nigerian authorities have reversed their decision to suspend the country’s basketball teams from all international competitions.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He explained that the decision to lift the ban on international basketball competitions was based on a letter of appeal from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), signed by Mr 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 has 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,” Mr Abubakar said in a statement after the briefing.
“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,” he stated further.
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.”
Mr Abubakar said President Buhari has mandated the ministry to ensure the implementation of the undertakings by the NBBF and “report back to Mr President on progress”.
Even with this, the Nigerian female basketball team has missed out on the window to participate in the upcoming Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) world cup.
Before the reversal of the ban, FIBA had replaced the D’Tigress with Mali ahead of the FIBA Women’s World Cup to be held later in the year in Australia.