Ministry of Sports has protested the denial of visa by the Spanish Embassy to the nation’s Under-17 Female Basketball Team scheduled for an international competition in Spain.
Speaking with newsmen after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, said the grounds upon which the athletes were denied visas were untenable.
He said “Our under 17 female basket ball team qualified in Madagascar for the Spain event but sadly after fulfilling all righteousness of visa requirements, even extra ordinary conditions were introduced by Spain, our federation met all but in the dying minute they were denied visa.
“Before I came to the State House, I was in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to officially protest the treatment given to Nigeria. I must really investigate more because the reasons given by the Embassy of Spain is that one, the letter signed requesting for visa was signed by a dead person. I had to in my office today invite the author of the letter to come to my office and he is a living person.
“The second reason was that the lists sent was padded and that there was an attempt to smuggle some people and traffic them across the border. The lists that was brought to me today which I still have here is not up to 18 and these were the people that went to Madagascar 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.”