Sam Ekeoma, Technical Director, Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria, has urged the Federal Government to reward Team Nigeria Paralympic athletes with houses and scholarships.
Ekeoma, who made plea on Wednesday, said many of the athletes denied themselves the opportunities in education to compete for the country.
He noted that the athletes surmounted all obstacles to break many world records and as such should be compensated.
“Our people have performed above expectation and they have made Nigerians proud, so any good thing Nigeria can do for its citizens is what should be done for them.
“They went, they saw and they conquered, so government should ensure that these athletes get first class treatment.
“It will be very unfair that after such gallant performance, these athletes who broke world records will still be looking wretched.
“The Federal Government should empower them financially and morally.
“They should be given houses, grants and those that want to go to school should be given scholarship to study to any level,’’ Ekeoma stated
According to him, some of the athletes sacrificed their opportunity in child bearing because of Nigeria and they should not regret serving their fatherland.
“It was during the administration of the late Sani Abacha that U-17 football players were given houses and that was the highest reception ever in the history of Nigerian sports.
“If a military government can do that over 20 years ago, then, the present government should think of better things to compliment the effort of its citizens,’’ he added.
Ekeoma urged sports administrators to start early to prepare for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, by ensuring that Nigeria participated in more sports to surpass the Rio 2016 record.
He said: “All hands must be on deck to surpass our performance in Rio; it’s good that we added one gold medal extra to the six gotten at the London 2012.
“That is why we should introduce more sports; Nigeria did not do well overall but we came first in Africa.
“We concentrated only on three sports, so, you can imagine what would happen happens if we participate in other sports just like we have introduced para-badminton.
“Nigeria Paralympics Committee is working on enrolling Nigeria in more sports and government should encourage us by sponsoring more sports so that we can compete with countries like the U.S., Australia and Canada.