President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, disclosed this in his office in Abuja on Thursday.
This decision follows the unending crisis in the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) that has plagued and nearly crippled basketball development in the country.
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed that the withdrawal of Nigeria was to provide the government with the opportunity to revamp the game from the grassroots as well as revive the domestic leagues which have become moribund.
The minister stated that the withdrawal will also allow for the setting up of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the management and development of the basketball leagues in Nigeria and to further address other related issues around the advancement of the game in the country.
Government intends to utilize this period of break to address contentious issues among stakeholders.
“The Terms of Reference (TOR) and membership of the Interim Management Committee will be announced in due course,” he said.
In issuing the Presidential order, the minister reiterated the government’s interest and commitment to the development of sports in the country.
He called on players, officials, fans, and other stakeholders of the sport to remain calm as the government embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilize the game of basketball in the country.
Basketball players in the country had, on Tuesday, stormed the office of the minister to protest the perceived unwillingness of the ministry to resolve the post-election impasse rocking the NBBF, since January 31, 2022.
Two elections took place on the said date – in Abuja as directed by the ministry – and in Benin City as decided by the immediate past president of the NBBF, Musa Kida.
The elections produced two boards of the NBBF, one headed by Igoche Mark and the other by Musa Kida.