Nigeria as the host country of the current African Athletes Championship 2015 has prepared for the sports event, touted as the “African Olympics.”  With a lot of athletes from all the countries of Africa touching down in Nigeria, sports watchers and lovers thought that the country got it all “good” with the organizing aspect of it until the country was amazed with pictures of some of the affected athletes stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos! A situation that has made Nigerians ask the government authorities to probe the local organizing committee (LOC).  Many Nigerians saw the pictures as a “National embarrassment”, thankfully the state government came and salvaged the situation.

Allegedly, according to the airlines that were supposed to connect them to Asaba, Delta airport closed at 5pm, does not have light to do night flights and very few airlines fly to Delta.. So our Nigerian People in the Lagos airport didnt deem it fit to assist the people with a descent place to sleep? What kind of national image are we creating in this country? Are they telling us that the airport in Lagos does not have a Phone to call the local organising committee ( LOC ) so they can reach an arrangement on how to quickly house the visitors?

And as for the federal aviation authority (FAAN) in Asaba, the question is; did they not know that an event is coming up so that you make preparations for late trips? Did they call any of the airlines and tell them that they can now arrive after 5pm? or Is thag not that part of why money was spent to upgrade the airport?

It is doubtful that the visitors were duly informed of inability to fly at night and why are they not checking themselves in to a hotel or is this a plot to spoil our profile? A whole lot if questions are begging for answers and Nigerians are demanding a probe to this national disgrace ! Having thought that we have solved this issue of closing by pm!

Amid the confusion, Delta State has come out to clear the air, stating that they were just assisting the Federal Government in the area of logistics and that the onus isn’t on them. In the statement of Hilary Ibegbulam, one of the aides to the government, he said that “the airport isn’t slated to close by 5PM but by 6 PM as widely reported in the media”

However, the state government has waded into the matter to salvage the situation by providing charted flight for the affected athletes. This little hitch delayed the opening ceremony of the game with some contingents been given ample time to settle down, such as the Kenyan team.

The governor commended the affected athletes’ patience and how they have exhibited a high level of maturity.  Amongst all the teams that are participating, which is over 30 of them, about two to three teams where just affected.  The governor commended the athletes for their patience and understanding.

Tracy Ogor Lilian

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