Bolaji Abdullahi, the Minister for Sports, has pledged that the federal government will probe the failure to deliver the houses promised the Super Eagles players, who won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 1994.
Abdullahi made the pledge when members of the team visited him in his office in Abuja. He assured the visitors, who included Victor Ikpeba, Mutiu Adepoju, Ben Iroha and Samson Siasia, that president Goodluck Jonathan “is concerned and willing to see to it that you get your houses.”
“Government is a continuum, so if there was a promise made in 1960, it is incumbent on the government of 2013 to fulfil it if it is still pending,” Abdullahi said.
“In one of our FEC (Federal Executive Council) meetings after Thompson Oliha passed on, the President said he was disturbed that your houses have not been given to some of you. That tells you that the government is already on the issue.”
Abdullahi’s promise follows the 1994 AFCON-winning team skipper, Austin Eguavoen’s comments that members of the squad may never get their houses after the sudden death of Uche Okafor, Rashidi Yekini and Thompson Oliha, who were all part of the 1994 Super Eagles.
“We are appealing to government because we know it’s not our right, because there are a million and one athletes out there that also deserve rewards, but we acknowledge that it was a privilege given to us by the government,” Eguavoen said.
“We have seen some of our colleagues pass on without getting their houses. We have lost Uche Okafor, Rashidi Yekini and recently Thompson Oliha. We don’t know who will be next. So we are appealing that the government help us redeem this promise.”
Eguaveon noted that most players, who picked houses outside Abuja and Port Harcourt were yet to get their houses, stressing that they would not mind if the government considers handing them houses in Abuja.