IRKED BY the inability of Spanish Embassy to issue visas to Nigeria junior Women basketball team to be part of FIBA World Championship which is underway in Zaragoza, Spain, Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung has insisted the already applied visas must be issued. Dalung who spoke in Abuja equally dismissed denial by the Spanish Embassy that the official who signed the application letters on behalf of the Nigerian basketball players was dead. The sports Minister also rubbished talks that the players who were Spain-bound were arranged for Human trafficking purposes and
maintained that the Visa application was made early enough. His words: “There is no truth in the claims by the Spanish Embassy. The official who signed the forms of each official and player and they said he is dead, hale and hearty.” Dalung further disclosed that that the Spanish authorities in Abuja also lied when it said the basketball team list was padded with non-players. The basketball players and their officials were denied the visas last week and subsequently missed the tournament after qualifying from Africa zone in Madagascar. Dalung has already presented Nigeria’s formal protest letter through the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and thereafter proceeded to the Presidential Villa where he met President Muhammadu Buhari. Addressing State House correspondents afterwards, the minister said he conducted
an investigation into the allegations made by the Spanish embassy and found them to be all false and unfounded. He said the Federal Government had also formally protested Spain’s action to the International Basketball Federation and demanded a redress, despite missing the tournament. Dalung explained that such development could not be glossed over as it could encourage other sporting events host nations that feel threatened by Nigeria’s prospects to similarly frustrate her teams by denying them visas. The 2016 FIBA U-17 World Championship dunked off on June 21 in Spain without Nigeria who were drawn in Group A with Canada, Latvia and Japan. The Coach Adeka Daudu-led U-17 girls had qualified from the African Championship held in Madagascar in 2015.

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