Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has thrown his weight behind the Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria (FIAN), while assuring the body of his support towards ensuring that football players do not pass through avoidable difficulties while trying to sort their traveling documents in search of greener pastures.
In a meeting held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja between FIAN members and staff of the ministry, the minister gave the body his words, and promised to be of help as long as issues are still within his reach.
Top on the menu of the meeting were issues bothering on menace of football players trafficking, identifying bonafide members of Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria, recommendation of FIAN members to embassies within and outside Nigeria and securing VISA for foreign partners seeking to visit Nigeria as contained in the letter presented to the minister.
Represented by his spokesperson Dr Tiwatope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, the minister disclosed that securing VISA without skirmishes for footballers and foreign partners is within the reach of the foreign affairs ministry and he reiterated his commitment towards ensuring that FIAN executes their projects without having to go through avoidable difficulties.
He noted that it is in the capacity of the National Agency For Prohibition Of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) to see to issues bothering on players trafficking, while also noting that Introduction and identification of FIAN should be an arrangement with the ministry of sports.
FIAN in its remarks appreciated the minister, and explained that its aim is to establish a cordial relationship with other ministries for synergy to thrive in its quest to achieve the laid down aims and objectives.
The Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria further explained that the major reason for requesting to see the Minister is based on the fact that the body is into facilitating transfer of exceptional talents outside the country to pursue their football career, while noting that some dubious individuals are continuously exploiting players in the name of getting them lucrative deals abroad.
A case of about ten Nigerians trapped in Cape Verde was brought to the front burner, a fraudulent individual who claimed to be a football agent after collecting millions of Naira, abandoned the players in Cape Verde and absconded.
FIAN believes perpetrators would be brought to book should the ministry of foreign affairs assist in introducing the body to embassies and consulates in Nigeria and Nigerian embassies overseas.
A database for the Intermediaries would also be worked upon in earnest, while the body promised to monitor the activities of members as well as movements of players through the proposed relationship with Ministries, Consulates and Embassies.
The Foreign Affairs Minister however promised to take steps, one of which include talking to the Director General of NAPTIP and also assured of his cooperation whenever FIAN comes calling.
Packaged by Lanre Olabisi