The Presidency yesterday summoned top Sports Ministry officials and their Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) counterpart to the Presidential Villa following yesterday’s protest by members of the senior women national team, Super Falcons, at the National Assembly complex.
The Super Falcons, who beat Cameroun 1-0 to win the African Women Nations Cup in Yaoundé, have been protesting the non-payment of their emoluments, including match allowances dating back to eight months, among other things, two weeks after the continental championship.
They have been holed up at the AguraHOTEL, Abuja, vowing not to leave until they get their entitlements.
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.