Sports minister Solomon Dalung has sent a three-man panel to Salvador, Brazil, to investigate allegations of abuse of Personal Identification Cards (accreditation cards) by members of the U-23 national team.
Dalung had received a mail dated August 12 and signed by Lenny Abbey, Head of National Olympic and Paralympic Relations and Services Committee, intimating him of the abuse of the cards by the team.
Dalung, in a statement by his media aide, Nneka Anibeze, said the panel, made up of Team Nigeria Chief de Mission, Chinyeaka Ohaa, his deputy, Emeka Onyeama and Secretary-General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Tunde Popoola, was saddled with the task of identifying the 25 officially accredited players and officials of the U-23 team, to avoid an international embarrassment by the security department of the organising committee of the Games.
“I have asked the three men to verify the players with official accreditation and remove the rest from the hotel and camp so that we can report back to the IOC that we have complied. Our football federation came with excess players and officials but we have taken steps to rectify it. We don’t want any of our players to be found in possession of the counterfeit PVCs,” Dalung said.
The letter from Abbey read, “It has come to our attention that there has been abuse of accreditation by the Nigerian football team.
“Rio 2016 Accreditation Department reported that upon arrival in Manaus on the 4th of August 2016, the team claimed that they all lost their PVCs and requested the accreditation management to re-issue the cards.
“On the 8th of August, members of the team came to Sao Paolo and claimed they had lost their cards in Brasilia and requested a re-print. The security department has also informed that they had found PVCs that have been laminated with a plain laminator and have been used to access football hotels and venues where there is no electronic access control.
“Using cancelled accreditation or counterfeiting accreditation by laminating PVCs to grant access to unaccredited support staff, family and friends is unacceptable and goes against the Rio 2016 and IOC policies and rules.
“We count on the support of the Nigeria Olympic Committee to rectify this issue immediately and respect the accreditation quota allocated to the NOC as per IOC accreditation guidelines. The IOC has been notified. Please note that measures shall be taken should this issue continue.”