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Buhari Orders Finance Ministry To Pay Falcons

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Finance to pay the Super Falcons their entitlements.

Buhari orders finance ministry to pay Falcons
Protesting Super Falcons in Abuja
The Falcons, who beat hosts Cameroon 1-0 to win the African Women’s Cup of Nations in Yaounde on December 3, were forced to embark on protest in Abuja after the Nigeria Football Federation failed to pay them their bonuses and allowances.

The eighth time African champions marched on the Presidential Villa on Wednesday to press home their demands.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, told State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa that Buhari had directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, to ensure that the players were paid today.

Kyari, who just returned from a medical trip abroad said, he had conveyed the president’s directive to the players, who staged a protest to the gate of the Presidential Villa earlier on Wednesday.

He said, “The problem has been resolved. The players did us proud. I congratulated them on the feat they achieved.

“I have also told them that all their entitlements would be paid latest by Thursday.

“We have called the Minister of Finance as well as the Minister of Youth and Sports. They will be paid by tomorrow (Thursday). The details, I don’t know.”

The players had planned to enter the Presidential Villa where they expected the Federal Executive Council meeting to hold.

The meeting however did not hold following the presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly by the President.

After Kyari addressed the placard-carrying players, they thereafter moved to the National Assembly in continuation of their protest.

At the National Assembly Complex yesterday, Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Abba Kyari, promised they would be paid this week.

The team, led by skipper Rita Chikwelu, displayed various placards to protest their neglect by the sports ministry and the NFF.

Some of their placards read, “We are your children, pity us”; “Let us respect women”; “female football deserves respect.”

The Super Falcons had earlier rejected assurances by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung that their money would be paid as soon as possible, saying they would not leave Abuja until they got all their emoluments.

Until yesterday when they took their protest to the National Assembly complex, the Falcons had been demonstrating on the streets of the federal capital since they arrived in the city.

One of the players, who pleaded anonymity, said they decided to take their protest to the National Assembly to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to their plight, since he was expected to present his 2017 budget to the legislators at the complex yesterday.

While each of the Falcons players is owed as much $16,500 for winning the tournament in Cameroun, they have only been paid a total sum of N600, 000 each (approximately $1, 900).

Aside bonuses that accrue from winning the 2016 AWCON, the players are also owed bonuses and allowances from the qualifiers leading up to the AWCON.

They described their neglect as pathetic and embarrassing, despite winning the AWCON, noting that they were about to be ejected from their hotel.

They said it was important for the President to order the NFF to pay them to encourage up-and-coming players to win titles for the country.

The treatment meted out to the record Aftican champions by the Nigerian authorities is in sharp contrast to that received by runners-up Indomitable Lionesses from the Cameroonian government.

The social media has been awash with pictures, videos and stories of the lavish ceremony by President Paul Biya to honour the Cameroonian ladies, despite finishing as runners-up on home soil.

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