President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced a cash gift of N1 million to each player of the victorious senior national female basketball team, D’Tigress, while other officials were given N500, 000 each.
Receiving the champions of the 2017 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket tournament in Mali, President Buhari thanked the players and its officials for doing the nation proud and for qualifying for the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
‘‘You have done so much for Nigeria. When I was in the UK I had time to watch some of your performances on the NTA. Thank you very much indeed for what you have done for Nigeria,’’ the President said.
President Buhari, who met the players, managers, officials of the Nigeria Basketball Federation and the Nigeria Olympic Team, before presiding over the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, directed the Minister of Finance to make the funds available as soon as possible.
Earlier, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Solomon Dalung recalled that President’s symbolic declaration in 2015 “sports loves me’’ has motivated and inspired several Nigerian athletes to excel.
‘‘Mr President, a silent reform is going on in the sports sector in Nigeria; having realised the problems with the sector, we are determined to take steps that will restore the glory of sports in Nigeria and this has started paying off,’’ he said.
Dalung said it was symbolic that the President’s plane touched down at about 4:30 p.m on Saturday, August 19 in Abuja- about the same time the Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles scored its first goal in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers in Kano.
The minister praised the team and the new leadership of NBBF for working very hard and identifying new talents that will form a formidable team in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.