Aiteo Cup Finals: Nasarawa gov’t abandons 3 journalists in Benin – SWAN

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Story from Ibraheem Hamza MUHAMMAD, Lafia

Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Nasarawa state chapter has condemned the ill-treatment and subsequent abandonment of journalists attached to the Nasarawa state-contingent for the recently held 2021 Aiteo Cup Finals in Benin City, Edo State.

The journalists are Isa Mohammed of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Kayode Babalola of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Esther Akaa of (The Voice)

This is contained in a statement signed Isa Mohammed, Chairman of the Nasarawa state chapter of SWAN and made available to newsmen on Tuesday.

According to Mohammed, the state chapter of SWAN is highly displeased over the poor treatment of its members by officials of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports, culminating in their abandonment in Benin City on Monday.

“The three sportswriters were invited by the Honourable Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Othman Bala-Adam to join the state entourage to Benin City to cover the Aiteo Cup finals at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Sunday.

“But even before they reached Edo state, arguments arose over their logistics, which is pivotal in getting the best out of them. Nevertheless, they carried out their duties despite the difficult situation they were faced with.

“After the state team’s painful loss to Bayelsa United, a 6:30 am departure time was agreed for the entourage the next day. But to our dismay, the journalists who are also part of the entourage woke up and found out that the entourage led by directors of the ministry had left the state.

“All pleas to stop the vehicle so the journalists could catch up with them was rebuffed. The barbaric behaviour of the officials is highly condemnable and we demand an apology for the undignified treatment the journalists passed through,” he said.

Mohammed commended the state commissioner of Youth and Sports for intervening and finding an alternative transport means several hours later but reiterated that the inhumane treatment meted on the journalists still has to be addressed to prevent it repeating itself in future.

“We will not sit idle and allow any negative element destroy the giant strides achieved and the efforts put in by the Governor Abdullahi Sule administration to revamp the sports sector in the state for effective service delivery,” he said.

Reacting to the development, Othman Bala-Adam, Nasarawa state Commissioner of Youth and Sports Development pleaded for patience and promised to investigate the reasons behind the actions of the officials of the ministry.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nasarawa United lost to Bayelsa United via penalty shootout for the 2021 Aiteo Cup finals trophy played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Sunday.

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