…The Minister said he was saddened by the developments surrounding Osimhen and Amusan, and that he was committed to establishing the facts of the matter
The Minister for Sports Development John Owan-Enoh, has jumped on the cases of Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen and Tobi Amusan, the world record holder in the 100m hurdles.
Osimhen was recently mocked by his club Napoli in a TikTok video, while Amusan is having a running battle with the Athletics Integrity Unit who have since taken her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS)
Amusan was initially provisionally suspended for missing three whereabouts tests within 12 months but having successfully argued her case before an independent panel, the suspension was lifted on the eve of the World Championships held in Budapest.
But in a twist of the event which some considered vindictive, the AIU has filed an appeal at CAS, seeking to convict Amusan of an anti-doping offence that may be detrimental to her career.
In a statement released on Thursday, Mr Owan-Enoh said he was saddened by the developments surrounding Osimhen and Amusan, and that he was committed to establishing the facts of the matter.
“Over the past weekend, the developments that came out of Napoli as it pertains to Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen saddened me greatly. The travails of Tobi Amusan have been no less so. This necessitated why last week, I made efforts to reach her directly,” the Sports Minister said in the statement.
“Moreso, my office is making efforts to reach Victor Osimhen directly as well, so as to understand firsthand what the issues are. We are committed to establishing the facts of the matter.
“I am also in touch with the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, as well as the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Italy, Ambassador Mfawa Abam. Together, we are employing diplomatic avenues with Italy for a more decorous approach in looking into the matter as it is.
“Under the present administration of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we are committed to ensuring our sportsmen and women are accorded the respect they deserve and are not exposed to injustice, discrimination, and unfair trolling, that could be detrimental to their career trajectory.
“Upon assumption of office, I made it abundantly clear, in words and deeds that the welfare of our athletes, be they home-based or foreign-based, would be our topmost priority, as we create the environment that enables and ensures their continued success.”
The Minister’s interest in the cases of Osimhen and Amusan is a welcome development.
The two athletes are two of Nigeria’s most prized assets, and their welfare must be protected.
Osimhen has been a key player for the Super Eagles in recent years, and he is expected to play a major role in the team’s quest to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
In the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Osimhen finished as the top scorer with 10 goals as the Super Eagles sealed their berth at next year’s tournament in commanding fashion.
For Amusan, even though she has been dethroned as the world champion in the 100m hurdles, she remains the world record holder and only recently asserted her dominance by winning a third successive Diamond League trophy.
She is one of the favourites to win gold at the 2024 Olympic Games.
For many, it is encouraging to see that the Nigerian government is out to do everything possible to support Osimhen, Amusan, and indeed every Nigerian athlete to ensure that they can compete at the highest level