Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, has stated reports of Victor Osimhen, Paul Onuachu and Imoh Ezekiel being stranded in the country when their clubs in Europe are back to training was not as a result of the country’s airspace closure.
Osimhen, Onuachu and Ezekiel were, yesterday, reportedly stranded allegedly due to non-approval of the trips by the Federal Ministry of Aviation, as the country grapples with rising cases of COVID-19 pandemic.
Lille’s manager, Christophe Galtier, was yesterday quoted as expressing frustration over the club’s inability to fly Osimhen back to France, on Friday because the club was “yet to receive the green light from Nigerian authorities.”
But Ibitoye, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday, insisted that the players inability to return to their clubs can’t be as a result of the country’s airspace closure, adding that some Nigerians flew into the country on Friday, from France and other parts of the world.
“The clubs are the ones making arrangements, and not the NFF. People have been moving about and even Osimhen came in from France during the lockdown. The clubs know how to arrange for these players to be back to their bases.
“Ahmed Musa came in during the lockdown and he has gone back to his base. The only thing that the Nigerian government can do is to give waiver to their planes. This is not an issue because people have been coming in and going out,” he said, adding that a similar thing happened to Onuachu, who flew into the country some time ago in a private flight.
“I know of Onuachu, for example. The last time he came in was through a private jet provided for him. All the waivers he needed, the Nigeria Football Federation provided, through the Federal Government. I do not think this is a big issue at all.
“Even as at the time Osimhen came in for his dad’s incident, the border was already closed, and it wasn’t a problem for him to be flown into the country, by his club after his flight was granted the needed waiver. But I can tell you that their inability go back before now is not because of the border closure. This is a thing that the clubs and players need to agree on when the players want to move,” he stated.