President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate payment of all outstanding allowances and bonuses being owed the Super Falcons, an official said on Wednesday, December 14 in Abuja, the nation’s federal capital.
The Falcons had earlier on Wednesday embarked on a protest march against the non-payment of their allowances by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The footballers, who won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, AWCON, for the eighth time in Cameroon, initially refused to leave their hotel rooms at Agura Hotel in Abuja.
They had, upon returning from the competition which they won on December 3, been waiting for the payment at the hotel where they were accommodated by the NFF.
But on Wednesday they staged a protest march, carrying various placards with inscriptions along the roads between the National Assembly and the secretariat gate of the Presidential Villa.
The protest was planned to coincide with the appearance of President Muhammadu Buhari who was scheduled to present the 2017 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Speaking later, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari, told State House correspondents on Wednesday that the issue had been resolved.
He said government had since directed appropriate authorities to settle the players’ allowances and bonuses.
“The problem has been resolved. They have done us proud and we congratulated them. The Ministries of Sports and Finance have been directed to pay tomorrow (Thursday).
“I don’t know the details of the arrears. But they have been directed to pay,” the presidential aide said.
Mr. Kyari, who earlier spoke with the players on Wednesday during their protest march to the Aso Rock Villa gate, urged them to return to their hotel rooms.
He assured them that their outstanding payment would be settled within 24 hours.
The players, led by team captain Rita Chikwelu, had during the protest expressed their displeasure at the non-payment of their allowances and bonuses.
Also, the Senate Committee on Sports on Wednesday in Abuja assured the Super Falcons of payment of their outstanding allowances.
Chairman of the committee, Obinna Ogba, told the players that the Senate was committed to ensuring that their allowances were paid.
The meeting with the Falcons followed a protest march staged by the Falcons requesting payment of their outstanding allowances.
“Let me inform you that my Committee has been mandated to investigate activities of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with regards to the face-off.
“I assure you that having made the nation proud, you will be paid.”
Also speaking, Samuel Anyanwu, a member of the committee, expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the players were treated, and called for patience to enable the Committee to step in.
“I feel very hurt at the behaviour of the NFF, which should have been better in view of your feat. You should be patient and guard your utterances so that we can do something about this case.
“The Senate will investigate activities of NFF, because this type of issue has been a recurring decimal in the federation,’’ he added.
In her remarks, captain of the Falcons, Rita Chikwelu, lamented that the NFF did not treat them well when playing in Cameroon during the 2016 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Explaining their ordeal, she said they were ordered out of the hotel at Douala in Cameroon the very night they won the competition.
She said this led them to sleeping at the airport with the competition’s trophy they won by beating hosts Cameroon 1-0 on December 3.
“Officials of NFF did not encourage us at all in Cameroon. We never saw the NFF President (Amaju Pinnick) and General Secretary (Mohammed Sanusi) in Yaounde when we played in the semi-finals.
“Surprisingly, we saw them in the crowd at Douala where we played the final match and having won that night they asked us to leave.”