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JUST IN: FG lifts basketball ban after Mali replaces Nigeria at women world cup

By News Desk

Responding to Nigerians’ appeal, the Federal Government has reinstated the country into the international basketball body, following a letter from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) board.

The government said that the moves were reconsidered after interventions by concerned stakeholders including Nigerian ex-international basketball players and well-meaning Nigerians.

According to the government, they approach the ministry and requested that solutions to the issues that were triggered by the decision made on basketball players’ participation at international tournaments be reversed.

The new development came barely three weeks after the Federation of International Basketball (FIBA) invited Mali, the team that came second during Africa’s qualifications tourney to replace the Nigerian women’s team at this year’s tournament.

Announcing the decision on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development Ismaila Abubakar, who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, said the latest decision is based on a letter of appeal from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), signed by Musa Kida.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, being one that is committed to youth development and desirous of ensuring that they are availed of all opportunities in sports and other endeavors considered the appeal and in the overriding spirit of national interest, love for our youth, and in order to avoid sending basket development into a long period of suspension when NBBF has now committed to the resolution of the issues which precipitated the withdrawal in the first place has approved the return of Nigeria to international basketball immediately,” Abubakar said in a statement after the briefing.

“In securing this approval, of note is the caution that the laws of Nigeria cannot be subjugated to any other law, and every Nigerian entity must respect Nigerian laws and authority governing various sectors. Failure to do this, as with any constitutionally bound sovereign nation will attract sanctions.”

He explained that the “appeal letter also critically gave some key undertakings: to immediately set in motion the process of status review or constitutional amendments from stakeholders as collated by the Ministry of
Youth and Sports Development; to set up a high-powered team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family at home and abroad, and a commitment to work with the Ministry in the governance and development of basketball among other things.”

He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has manded the ministry to ensure the implementation of the undertakings by the NBBF and “report back to Mr. President on progress”.

Before the reversal of the ban, FIBA had replaced the D’Tigress with Mali ahead of the FIBA Women’s World Cup to be held later in the year.

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