The Federal Government of Nigeria has withdrawn the country from international basketball for two years, citing leadership crisis plaguing the sport.
Sunday Dare, the minister of youth and sports development, disclosed the development in a statement issued on Thursday.
The development comes amid crisis within the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
Speaking on the decision to withdraw Nigeria, Dare said the President, Muhammed Buhari took the stance as part of efforts by the federal government to revamp the sport from the grassroots.
“Government intends to utilise this period of break to address a contentious issues among stakeholders,” the statement reads.
“The Terms of Reference (TOR) and membership of the Interim Management Committee will be announced in due course.”
Ismaila Abubakar, permanent secretary of the ministry, who read the minister’s statement at a media briefing, said the issuance of the presidential order became imperative to show government’s interest and commitment to the development of basketball in the country.
He said it will also aid the development of talents among the nation’s youth in an atmosphere that is free of rancour and squabbles, adding that it will enable the “revival of the domestic leagues which have become moribund”.
According to Abubakar, the withdrawal will also allow for the setting up of an interim management committee (IMC) to oversee the development of the domestic basketball leagues in Nigeria, and to further address related issues around the advancement of the game in the country.
He called on players, officials, fans, and other stakeholders in basketball to remain calm, while government embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilise the game of basketball for growth and success in the long-term interest of the country.