President Muhammadu Buhari has rewarded sportsmen and women and their officials who brought honour to the country in the last seven months, as well as the 1985 Class of U-16 boys who won the inaugural FIFA Cadet World Cup title while Buhari was military Head of State.
A brief but impressive ceremony at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa on Thursday morning was witnessed by top government functionaries, leading politicians, members of the National Assembly, members of the Diplomatic Corps and top sports administrators.
Rewarded were the aforementioned ’85 Class of U-16 players and their coaches; men and women basketballers; powerlifters; world scrabble champion Wellington Jighere and officials; boxer Olanrewaju Durodola; athletes and officials; the U-17 world champion footballers and; the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations winners.
Various monetary rewards, including N2million for each of the 1985 FIFA U-16 World Cup winners, N1.2million for the 2015 FIFA U-17 world champions and N500,000 for each of the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations winners, were doled out by President Buhari.
Buhari said the monetary rewards represented “a token of appreciation for your efforts and patriotism,” even as he hailed the “consistency, determination, will-power and penchant for success in recent times” of Nigerian sportsmen. “I urge the managers of this sector to keep up the momentum.”
The President, who directed a one-minute silence in honour of late Kingsley Aikhiobare (a member of the U-16 world champions of 1985 who died in London in 1996), said the reception and rewards were “in line with our belief that the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain.”