The federal government has ordered the immediate withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions. President Muhammadu Buhari approved that the basketballers suspend their activities for two years with immediate effect following the unending crisis which has plagued and nearly crippled the development of basketball in Nigeria.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who made this development known through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ismaila Abubakar, said the withdrawal of Nigeria is in order to concentrate on efforts by the government towards revamping the sport from the grassroots as well as domestic leagues which has become moribund.
Dare disclosed that an Interim Management Committee (IMC) will be set up to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues in Nigeria.
While reiterating the government’s interest and commitment to the development of youths and basketball in Nigeria, he said players, officials, fans, and other stakeholders of the sport need to remain calm in other for the government to reposition, sustain and stabilize the sport.
“In issuing the order, the Federal Government reiterates its interest and commitment to the development of the sport of basketball in Nigeria as well as huge talents of our youth domestically in an atmosphere free of rancor and squabbles.”
“Government, therefore, calls on players, officials, fans, and other stakeholders of the sport to remain calm as it embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilize the game of basketball. This will aid in the growth and success of the sport in the long-term interest of the country,” the minister said.
The Guild gathered that the basketball sport has been battling leadership crisis in the last five years. Two parallel national federation board elections were held in 2017 (in Kano and Abuja) and 2022 (in Benin and Abuja), leading to the emergence of separate governing bodies.