Bonus Crisis: Presidency Promises to Indemnify Falcons in 48 Hours

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*Summons NFF to explain role in disputes

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Government has palliated the Super Falcons by assuring that their unpaid bonuses and allowances would be paid by Friday.

The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari gave the assurance to the players, who resorted to self help by protesting at the Three Arm Zone in Abuja yesterday morning.

The protest that was led by journalist-cum female activist, Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello was to press their displeasure with the authority for non-paying their entitlements for winning the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon about a week ago.

THISDAY learnt that the players on hearing that the president was scheduled to visit the National Assembly to present the estimates of the 2017 budget to the lawmakers, took their protest there with placards reading, “We are your children, pity us”; “Let us respect women”; “Female football deserves respect,” in a bid to get his attention and possibly put an end to their plight.

The defiant players have refused to vacate the Agura Hotel and declined to hand over the continental trophy in their possession.

Kyari, who met the players about 10 am at the Presidential Villa Gate, after security men turned them back at the National Assembly, promised that government would pay all their entitlements in 48 hours (Friday) after the players handed him a list detailing all their demands.

It is understood that the players wanted to be indemnified to the tune of $24,000 each as accumulated bonuses from the qualifying stage and for beating the host, Cameroon in the final match.

The players were also irked by the failure of government to host them for winning the trophy. They considered government posturing as insensitive given that Cameroon which they beat held an elaborate state reception at the instance of President Paul Biya and his wife for the, Lionesses despite the fact that they lost 1-0 to Nigeria in the final.

THISDAY learnt yesterday that government was irked by action of the players which amounted to washing the nation’s dirty linen in public glare and has summoned the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to an emergency meeting to explain the circumstances responsible for the non- payment of the players’ dues.

NFF and the Sports Ministry had refused to pay the players on the excuse that money was not available and that players would be rewarded at a later date/ But their appeal met a stiff objection from the players who refused to vacate their hotel and insisted on the payment of their allowances.