By Muhyideen Jimoh
Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan-Enoh, says he is committed to ensuring Nigerian athletes are accorded due respect and not discriminated against.
The minister said this on Thursday in Abuja against the backdrop of a video on Napoli’s official TikTok which appeared to mock Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen over a penalty miss.
Osimhen had missed a penalty kick during Napoli’s 0-0 draw with Bologna in a recent Serie A match.
Osimhen subsequently threatened to sue Napoli FC for the post, but the post has now been deleted.
The minister said he was saddened by the incident and exploring ways to ensure Nigerian athletes are treated with dignity always.
He said he was committed to rallying support for Osimhen, Tobi Amusan and other Nigerian athletes who might need encouragement.
“Over the past weekend, the developments that came out of Napoli as it pertains Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen, saddened me greatly.
“The travails of Tobi Amusan have been no less so. This necessitated why, last week, I made efforts to reach her directly.
“Moreso, my office is making efforts to reach Victor Osimhen directly as well, so as to understand first hand what the issues are.
“We are committed to establishing the facts of the matter,” he said.
Owan-Enoh said his office was working closely with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Ambassador to Italy and other stakeholders to find a diplomatic resolution to the issue.
“I am also in touch with the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, as well as the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Italy, Ambassador Mfawa Abam.
“Together, we are employing diplomatic avenues with Italy for a more decorous approach in looking into the matter as it is,” he said.
The minister said the Tinubu-led administration would continue to ensure that Nigerian sports men and women were accorded the respect they deserved and not exposed to injustice and discrimination.
“Upon assumption of office, I made it abundantly clear, in words and deeds that the welfare of our athletes, be they home-based or foreign-based, would be our topmost priority, as we create the environment that enables and ensures their continued success,” he added. (NAN)