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Real Sports: Federal Government Delegation To World Boxing Title Fight Deported from Mexico

March 12, 2008
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A delegation of the Federal Government of Nigeria sent to cheer Nigerian-born World Boxing title holder, Samuel Peter, to victory did not make it to the venue as Mexican immigration officials deported them back to Nigeria from the point of entry to Mexico.

Mexican immigration officials, who confirmed the deportation, told Saharareporters that the Nigerian delegation was larger than originally agreed between the two countries. He told Saharareporters that over 20 people came from Nigeria instead of 4 initially agreed upon between the two countries.

They also revealed that the Nigerian delegation reneged on an agreement to pick up their visas from London, with the delegation unilaterally making their transit through Spain from where they boarded their flights to Mexico City.

The immigration source, who spoke to our reporters from Mexico City, also disclosed that the Nigerian delegation did not book hotels where they could be located, giving room to further the suspicion that they were up to some tricks in Mexico.

The Federal Government delegation, which was led by Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, also included an unnamed Deputy Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Sports Commission, and some officials from Akwa Ibom, the boxer’s home state, led by the Commissioner of Sports, Mr. Umoetuk.

When contacted about the embarrassing deportation, Mr. Usoro Usoro, Chief Press Secretary to the Akwa Ibom Governor, initially denied that the Akwa Ibom State sent a delegation to Mexico for the title fight. But he later acknowledged the development, stating that the Mexican authorities had insisted that the delegation return to the UK to pick their visas.

However, Mexican authorities told Saharareporters that they allowed only Nigeria’s Sports Minister entry because he was carrying a diplomatic passport. However, there is no word yet if he made it to the boxing event before the fight was over.

Efforts to reach Nigerian Federal authorities in Abuja to get their own side of the deportation saga did not yield any responses as at the time of going to press.

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