Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday condemned the “unsavoury treatment” meted out to the Super Falcons by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, and the Nigerian Football Federation by failing to pay their bonuses and allowances.
The team defeated hosts Cameroon 1-0 in the final of the 2016 African Women’s Cup of Nations in Yaounde on December 3 to win the title for the eighth time.
However, the players were not paid their allowances, a development which forced them to resort to protests in Abuja.
The team also refused to vacate their hotel, insisting that they would not leave until they had been paid.
Only on Wednesday, they stormed the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly to protest against the non-payment of their entitlements.
This prompted the Presidency to direct that the allowances of the players should be paid without further delay.
At its sitting on Thursday, the House condemned Dalung and the NFF, saying that their actions had brought shame upon Nigeria.
A former Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Sports, Mrs. Ayo Omidiran, sponsored a motion on the burning issue.
Describing the players as “patriotic”, she said they answered the national call on the belief that they would be paid after the championship, but were disappointed.
Omidiran, who is from Osun State, spoke more, “For the past two weeks, the space has been filled with the cries of these ladies.
“Has it become a crime to make your country proud? What makes it more painful is the fact that the Cameroonian girls, who came second, were celebrated by their President (Paul Biya).
“These girls are not asking for anything extraordinary, but the allowances owed them from the qualifiers till they won the trophy.”
Another member from Edo State, Mr. Sergius Ose-Ogun, noted that there was something wrong with the Nigerian attitude to things.
He said, “It is not only in sports, Mr. Speaker. Even in the civil service, workers retire after 35 years and they are not paid their dues.
“Why did they have to subject these girls to so much pain?There is an evil spirit in this country, which must die.”
The Deputy House Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyeama, told the House that Nigeria would have been saved from the disgrace by simply declining to participate in the championship.
“This is a major disgrace and I don’t know how to explain it,” Onyeama observed.
A member from Borno State, Mr. Mohammed Nur-Sheriff, revealed that there was more rot in the sports ministry than Nigerians knew.