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Super Falcons Stage “Sit-in” Protest Over Unpaid Wages

Nigeria’s women’s team are continuing to refuse to leave a hotel in Abuja until they are paid allowances and bonuses for winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
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The Super Falcons, who clinched their eighth African title on Saturday with a 1-0 win over hosts Cameroon, are protesting over the Nigeria Football Federation’s failure to pay them US$17,150 per player for their success.

It is alleged the NFF had also pledged to pay outstanding allowances for qualifying and their win bonuses [US$6,500] before the start of the competition.

One of the players told BBC Sport that their sit-in at the Agura hotel in the capital will not end until they receive all bonuses, which totals US$23,650 per player.

“We are not leaving this hotel and we have not been told exactly when we are going to get paid,” the player, who insisted on anonymity per Oluwashina Okeleji [BBC Sport].

“The plan is to stay here until we all receive the money because the moment we leave there will be no opportunity to get it again.”

“We have made it clear to the NFF president and general secretary that we are going nowhere until all our monies from the qualifying and the competition in Cameroon have been paid.”
The NFF, which receives direct funding from government, is in dire straits after Nigeria slipped into recession in August for the first time in more than a decade.
Since March, Super Falcons coach Florence Omagbemi and her assistants have only received a month’s salary.
The NFF has said in a statement that its general secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, met with the players and officials at the Agura Hotel on Tuesday.

“The NFF is not happy owing players and coaches, but present severe economic challenges inform that it can only continue to seek the understanding of these persons, as well as hoteliers, travel agents, management and staff until the situation improves,” Sanusi said in a statement.

“All organisations, whether government or private, are feeling the pinch.

“We know we have financial commitment to you (players and officials of Super Falcons) and we have not at any time stated otherwise. But the money is not readily available.

“I have come to appeal to you, to understand the situation of the federation, to understand the situation of the country at the present and exercise patience.

“We will pay you all monies you are being owed as soon as we receive same from the government.”

Despite this latest appeal by the NFF, the Super Falcons insist that they do not trust the federation’s promises and will not be calling off their sit-in protest as requested.

“Contrary to what was said in that statement, Mr Sanusi used some strong words during our meeting,” another player told the BBC.

“Our coach (Omagbemi) has gone unpaid for months, she lost her father yet she went to the tournament and won it for Nigeria.

“They can’t treat the Super Eagles (the men’s national team) like this. The only thing we understand right now is for them to pay and stop making promises.”

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