The Nigerian Government on Tuesday expressed its readiness to protest the denial of visa to members of the nation’s Under-17 Female Basketball Team by Spain.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Solomon Dalung, said this in an interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister recalled that the female basketball players had qualified in Madagasca for the Spain event but after fulfilling all visa requirements, they were denied visa.
He said he had, earlier before coming to the Presidential Villa, visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to officially protest the treatment given to Nigeria.
He said he would carry out further investigation because the reasons given by the Embassy of Spain were not genuine.
He said, “One, they claimed that the letter requesting for visa was signed by a dead person. I had in my office today invited the author of the letter and he is a living person.
“The second reason was that the list sent was padded and that there was an attempt to smuggle some people and traffic them across the border.
“The list that was brought to me today which I still have here is not up to 18 (12 and 7 officials) and these were the people that went to Madagasca for competition and there was nothing like padding in it.
“The last reason was that it was out of time or it was brought in short notice. This one too did not stand the test of the investigation I did.
“This is why we have protested officially to the Embassy and I have written the international federation the treatment they gave to us. I guess it will not take too long, we still insist on getting visa from Spain for our athletes to go and participate because if we allow this to go on, then we are opening the gate for other countries to use this technique of disqualifying Nigeria when they feel we are going to be a threat in any international participation.”