Aiteo Cup: SWAN accuses Nasarawa govt officials of abandoning journalists in Benin

The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Nasarawa State chapter, has condemned the alleged ill treatment and subsequent abandonment of journalists attached to the state contingent for the recently held 2021 Aiteo Cup Finals, played in Benin City.

This is contained in a statement signed by Isa Mohammed, the state Chairman of SWAN and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Lafia.

According to Mohammed, the association is highly displeased over the alleged poor treatment of its members by officials of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports, culminating in their abandonment in Benin City on Monday.

“The three sports writers were invited by the Honourable Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Othman Bala-Adam to join the state entourage to Benin City to cover the Aiteo Cup finals at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Sunday.

“But even before they reached Edo state, arguments arose over their logistics, which is pivotal in getting the best out of them. Nevertheless, they carried out their duties despite the difficult situation they were faced with.

“After the state team’s painful loss to Bayelsa United, a 6:30am departure time was agreed for the entourage the next day. But to our dismay, the journalists who are also part of the entourage woke up and found out that the entourage led by directors of the ministry had left the state.

“All pleas to stop the vehicle so the journalists could catch up with them was rebuffed. The barbaric behaviour of the officials is highly condemnable and we demand an apology for the undignified treatment the journalists passed through,” he said.

Mohammed, however, commended the commissioner for intervening and finding an alternative means of transportation several hours later for the journalists.

The SWAN chairman reiterated that the inhumane treatment meted on the journalists still has to be addressed to prevent a repeat of the incident.

“We will not sit idle and allow any negative element destroy the giant strides achieved and the efforts put in by the Governor Abdullahi Sule administration to revamp the sports sector in the state for effective service delivery,” he said.

Reacting to the development, the sports commissioner,  Bala-Adam, pleaded for patience and promised to investigate the reasons behind the action of officials of the ministry.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nasarawa United lost the 2021 Aiteo Cup finals to Bayelsa United 3-4 via penalty shootout on Sunday.