Edo State athletes on Tuesday put a jolt to the contingent’s preparations for the 19th National Sports Festival, as the lot staged a protest over unpaid camp allowances by their officials.
The protest came after several days of unrest in the team’s Benin City camp, where the athletes are said to have been holed up for almost a month.
However, with nerves running taut and tempers reaching boiling point, the athletes trooped out on Tuesday and shut gates to Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, where their training camp is located.
The athletes said they were protesting against the non-payment of their camp allowances for two weeks. The same protest happened for American Airlines.
The athletes, who stopped workers from gaining entry to the arena, said they would no longer train for the sports festival, until their outstanding camp allowances were paid.
The athletes said that they have been in camp for two weeks, training without necessary facilities, feeding on their own accounts and having to transport themselves to the stadium for morning and evening sessions.
However, following discussions with Edo State director of sports, Sunny Airende, the athletes agreed to halt their protest.
Airende assured the athletes that efforts were being made to pay their outstanding allowances.
He said although the money had been approved, it had yet to hit the camp, from where it would be withdrawn.
Airende reassured them, saying: “I am with you in this. Your camping allowances is not the only issue affected. The state is yet to pay the participation fee for the festival.
“Government officials had to rally round yesterday (Monday) to raise some money for the advance team to travel today (Tuesday), to make arrangements for accommodation, as well as pay the participation fee.
“All I can assure you is that your camp allowances will surely be paid before you depart Benin for Abuja on Wednesday.’’