BY BEN EFE
Nigeria may not participate in the IAAF World Junior Championships as the Spanish Embassy in Lagos denied her athletes visas yesterday.
Tempers rose as the athletes who were at the Embassy early yesterday morning, protested the attitude of the Consular officials by blocking the entrance to the Embassy with their cars, requesting that they be attended to. But the officials remained adamant.
The applications for the visas had been submitted two weeks ago, but officials of the Embassy kept dribbling the athletes and officials. The team was scheduled to travel last night to catch up with the event, which starts this morning, but traveling is most unlikely as a result of the denial of issuing them visas.
Officials of the Embassy insisted that visas couldn’t be issued because the officers who were supposed to stamp the passports were not on seat. They asked the team to report on Tuesday morning(today).
“We gave them our passports two weeks ago. We were supposed to travel on Saturday, but they assured us that visas will be issued on Monday.
“By 2.30pm yesterday it dawned on us that there wasn’t going to be any visa for us to travel. From the look of things we may not be going to the championships, because it is late for us now,” said Jide Josiah, Athletics Federation of Nigeria vice president.
“What kind of injustice is this? After all our training we are being told we can’t travel,” said Maria Osifo, one of the coaches on the trip
Solomon Ogba, the AFN President, said they met all the conditions set by the Spanish embassy.