Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force have used tear gas to disperse Nigerian para-athletics protesting against the exclusion of para sports in the 2022 National Sports Festival.
SaharaReporters gathered that members of para-athletics union stormed the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on Thursday morning to show their grievances against the discriminatory order given by the sports ministry to deny their members the chance to partake in the forthcoming sports festival.
The Nigerian National Sports Festival is a biennial multi-sport event organized by the Nigerian government through the National Sports Commission for athletes from the 36 states of the country.
The 21st edition of the National Sports Festival, NSF which will be staged in Delta State will hold from 28 November to 10 December, 2022.
SaharaReporters had also reported that deaf athletes in Benin Monday protested against the decision by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development to exclude them from the upcoming sports festival scheduled to hold in Delta State.
The ministry's decision to make deaf sports optional as opposed to the permanent status it formerly held was criticized by the protesters, who Coach Sunny Aimufua led to the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) compound.
“We are here to protest the exclusion of deaf sports from the forthcoming National Sports Festival (NSF) in Delta in November. It is also unfortunate that the sport has been made optional, which should not be so. You can’t be talking of development when you make a sport optional.
“Also, we have three major sports committees in the world. First is the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee and the Committee of Deaf Sports. Now the Ministry has favoured the two others while we are being neglected.
“They said a sport becomes optional when there are no facilities for that sport. We must know that deaf athletics cannot be optional because we have tracks in most stadiums in Nigeria by able-bodied sportsmen and para-athlete athletes, so why won’t there be a place for deaf athletics?
“The ministry should stop playing politics with the deaf sports athletes who are different kinds of persons and they need to be encouraged. They have been training and some of them are employed by the state governments.
“One of our athletes in Edo State, Assurance Omoria, is the African champion in the deaf long jump,” Coach Aimufua stated.