The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has formally written basketball’s world governing body, FIBA, asking it to investigate the sad and embarrassing denial of visas to the national Under-17 Women’s Basketball team for the FIBA U-17 Championship in Spain.
The federation had to take this step because the Spanish Consul in Lagos did not only deny Nigeria its hard earned opportunity to play in the FIBA Women’s Under-17 Championship and caused the country a huge embarrassment, but also caused the players and staff of the NBBF serious emotional stress.
According to NBBF Board Member and Head of Media Unit, Patrick Omorodion, “the federation is pained because it took serious steps in filing the visa application which included writing all Nigerian authorities like the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Customs Service and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP).
“While the Customs and Immigration acknowledged the NBBF letter and pledged their support in seeing the smooth passage of the team to the championship, NAPTIP never replied,” observed the NBBF spokesman.
He insisted that “every document for the visa application requested from the NBBF concerning the team, including affidavits of consent sworn to by the players’ parents for them to represent the country were all endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and presented to the Spanish Embassy in Lagos and despite all these, the applications were turned down without any reason till now.”
The NBBF, apart from requesting FIBA to investigate this matter to unravel the reason for the visa denial, is also seeking legal advice on possibly filing for compensation against the Spanish Consul for causing Nigeria local and international embarrassment as well as causing the NBBF, players and the team officials emotional and financial losses.