Lagos - Lagos State athletes for the 18th National Sports Festival on Friday staged a peaceful protest at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere over their request for an increase in their daily camping allowance.
The timely intervention of an official, Niran Adeniji, Vice-Chairman of the Technical Committee preparing Team Lagos, for the Games, dissuaded the large number of athletes who had tried to set up barricades at the gates of the stadium.
Adeniji tried to calm the frayed nerves of the angry sportsmen and women.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered from the agitated athletes that they wanted their allowance increased from N1, 500 to N3, 000 per athlete, daily, during the closed camping period.
It was also gathered that for the festival proper, the athletes wanted the allowance to be increased to N5, 000 daily.
They had threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the festival on Nov. 27, if their demands were not met.
Some of the athletes who pleaded anonymity when NAN approached them for comments, said they were paid N1, 500 daily at the camp, whereas at the last festival in Port Harcourt, they got N2, 000 daily.
The athletes wondered why the allowance should be reduced, instead of being increased, now that the state was hosting the Games.
They, then, appealed to the Lagos State Government to increase the allowance to N5, 000 daily, as soon as festival kicks off on Nov. 27.
The largely unexpected protest had scared workers who temporarily halted their jobs. They had been putting finishing touches to their jobs at the stadium, ahead of the opening ceremony of the Games.
A NAN correspondent who had tried to remain in the midst of the athletes while the official was talking with them was spotted and chased away from the venue of the meeting.