• Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Nigeria Flying Eagles ’83 Writes To House Of Reps, Demands For Monetary Scholarship And MON Awards Pledged

ByAlibor Andrew

Aug 23, 2023

Exactly four decades ago Nigeria debuted at the 1983 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Mexico, the Flying Eagles’ players in that tournament are yet to be rewarded with their claims to the cash scholarship and the national awards of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) promised to them by the then President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, has disclosed in an exclusive report by Completesports.com

The former national team players are also yet to be conferred with the MON awards, as approved by the Speaker House of Representative Committee Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas.

Despite crashing out at the group stage, the Flying Eagles were heartily received, with the late President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, pledging full-time scholarships to all the team of 18 players and the officials, led by the late Christopher Udemezue, and were also to be decorated with the National Honour of Member Order of the Niger, MON.

Unfortunately with forty years on, not one of these promises has been fulfilled, leaving the players and their families in limbo about the whereabouts of the ‘fruits of their labour’, as it was revealed that a basketful of efforts have since then tremendously been made by the players to ensure that they claimed their rights.

According to facts gathered from Completesports.com, it was further noticed that Rt. Hon. Abbas, now Speaker of the House of Representatives, recently chaired a House Committee that voted for the monetisation of the players’ scholarship awards since only a few of them were academically inclined, while it was also stated that the players amongst themselves have agreed to the full value of the four-year university scholarship been converted to cash.

Meanwhile, it has been said that the players have now prevented their quest for fairness, equity, and justice, in their collective desire to see that the current Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu disbursed funds through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for them to be paid and as well be honoured with National Honour of Member Order of the Niger (MON), just as promised 40 years ago.

Although some of the players to this end, including captain Ali Jeje, defender Yisa Shofoluwe, goalkeeper Raymond King, left winger Chris Anigala as well as Coach Christopher Udemezue and his assistant, Yakubu are of the late memories, the 1983 Flying Eagles’ players have decided to beckon the attention of the House of Representatives Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abbas, seeking justice to the matter.

According to the letter signed by the former Vice Captain of the team, Paul Okoku, sighted by Completesports.com, the players have proposed August 29 for a meeting with Honourable Abbas.

“Some of our team members of the Flying Eagles of 1983 set, will be in Abuja on that day (August 29), and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about the pending action on the issues of monetizing the Scholarship and the conferment of the National Honour: Member of the Order of the Niger, MON, that were both promised to our team in 1983 by the (now late) President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari,” the letter reads in part.

“We would like to acknowledge that the effort to initiate the campaign to monetize our Scholarship was the brainchild of both your humility and leadership. Seeing how you gained the support of your fellow Honourable members of the House of Representatives was truly inspirational (sic).

“After you and your colleagues passed the resolution by unanimous votes to monetize our Scholarship and to confer us with the National Honour of MON, you told me at the time that the House was waiting for the then Minister of Sports, Hon Solomon Dalung, to include the funds in the 2018 budget. But unfortunately, that did not happen,” the player lamented.

“We’ve written several letters on numerous occasions to the immediate past Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, and former Super Eagles Captain, Dan Amokachi – Adviser on Sports to former President of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari, as reminders on the pending issues from the passed resolution by the House of Representatives to monetize our Scholarship, using the current costs of a four-year University degree course in the United States of America, USA, as a baseline.

“And to officially (and finally) commemorate us with the National Honour, Member of the Order of the Niger, MON,” the lm, concluded with a passionate appeal that ‘the efforts of our heroes past shall never be in vain’.

It was also stated in the letter that they had pushed their demands through the former Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, it was sad that he was unable to input the money into the Sports Ministry’s budget, hence the delay in the settlement of the monetized scholarship and award of national honour.

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