From Richard Adejare, Ilorin
Athletes from the 16 Local Government areas of Kwara state on Monday staged a protest to demand better welfare as the 7th Kwara Sports Festival kicked off in Ilorin.
The athletes barricaded the Taiwo Road entrance of the state stadium complex during the protest.
They claimed that it was absurd for the local government Councils to pay them N500 a day for the duration of the games.
One of the female athletes said “look at my eyes, it was punches to it that made it looked like this.
“They said they want to pay me N500 a day, for being a boxer?, would they be the one to step into the rings.
“Let them bring their children to fight us in the ring and we will take the N500” the athlete who pleaded anonymity said.
Another official from Irepodun local government area, who pleaded not to be named for fear of being sacked said many of the athletes have since returned to their homes because of maltreatment.
“We have not seen our Treasurer and DPM since we arrived Ilorin for the games.
“What they gave us as tea this morning was more or less a hot water than what they called it.
“I don’t even have a kobo to buy a drink not to talk of to buy food, many of our athletes have since returned to their homes because of the poor welfare package at the games” the official said.
When contacted the Kwara Director of Sports, Malam Tunde Kazeem, over the incident, he confirmed the protest and said he has addressed the protesters and that the situation is under control.
Kazeem declined further comments even though some of the athletes vowed not to take further part in the games.
Investigation further revealed that the poor feeding system is occasioned by a caterer cooking for all the 16 local government councils while the athletes are not feeling the impact of the N2.5m released for each of the local government areas for the games.
News Hub Mag! reports that the games opened on Monday with the closing ceremony fixed for Sat. Feb. 1.