Nigeria’s women’s football champions protest over unpaid bonuses

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Nigeria’s victorious women’s football team have protested outside parliament in Abuja over unpaid win bonuses.

Their protest coincided with President Muhammadu Buhari’s arrival at the National Assembly to present next year’s budget.

The African champions then marched to President Buhari’s villa, where an aide said they would be paid in two days.

They have refused to leave a nearby hotel until they receive win bonuses of $17,150 each (£13,500).

At the president’s villa Mr Buhari’s Chief of Staff Malam Abba Kyari told them the government was aware of their situation and promised it would be resolved within two days.

Speaking to the BBC’s Naziru Mikailu in Abuja, one of the players said they had decided to go back to their hotel and wait for the government to fulfil its promise.

The issue has also been attracting the attention of other Nigerian sport stars and celebrities.

“My feelings are hurt by the treatment of our champions, the Super Falcons. This issue must be resolved for the dignity of our sports people,”
tweeted former Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo.

“From champions to the street what a big shame!!! A public international disgrace…” Paul Okoye, one half of the Nigerian twin singing sensation, P-Square, wrote on Instagram.

The Super Falcons clinched their eighth women’s Africa Cup of Nations title with a 1-0 win over hosts Cameroon on 3 December.

However the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has so far paid them less than $2,000 each.

The NFF is also understood to have promised to pay allowances for qualifying for the tournament.

But the organisation, which receives direct funding from government, is in dire straits after Nigeria slipped into recession in August for the first time in more than a decade.

It is not the first time the Super Falcons and the NFF have clashed over unpaid bonuses and allowances.

Twelve years ago, the team remained in their hotel in South Africa for three days after the Nigeria FA, as the NFF was then called, failed to pay their bonuses for winning the 2004 African Women’s Championship.

Nigerian teams have frequently been affected by pay disputes, with coaches regularly going unpaid and players boycotting training during qualifiers or at tournaments over unpaid bonuses.

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Credit: BBC

Image copyright:
Sumner Sambo

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