Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF) President, Lt. General Kenneth Minimah (rtd.), has confirmed that the nation indeed applied and was admitted into the new body challenging International Boxing Association’s (IBA) authority as world’s amateur boxing controlling body.
Minimah’s confirmation clears the coast on how Nigeria enlisted into the controversial World Boxing body, and also counters the earlier denial of his deputy.
Recall that on Saturday, a new body, World Boxing, listed Nigeria among countries that applied and were granted its membership status. It listed Nigeria among the countries that has withdrawn from the International Boxing Association (IBA) to join its bid to save boxing from the fall-out of the ongoing attrition between Russia and the rest of the world over its invasion of Ukraine.
However, on Sunday, the federation’s vice president, Azania Omo-Agege, denied that Nigeria has withdrawn the IBA and joined the new World Boxing. He accused the new body of trying to embarrass Nigeria by laying claims that the NBF applied and was accepted as its member.
In a statement on Monday, the NBF president said: “I wish to inform all print and electronic media and the Olympic Boxing community that the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF), under my leadership, applied and joined World Boxing on October 20, 2023.
The decision to join was also validated at a meeting of the executive board of the NBF.
“By the above action, please by informed that at no time did the NBF withdraw its membership of World Boxing.
“My attention has also been drawn to the unauthorised letters written to international bodies and the world press conference granted by Azania Omo-Agege (vice-president), which has caused great embarrassment to our dear country, our Ministry of Sports, our NOC and our humble selves, the NBF.
“I wish to state that Azania Omo-Agege single-handedly carried out all his actions without consultation with the board nor approval from myself the president of the federation. I did not authorise him.”
He said Omo-Agege’s “unauthorised media release, impersonation, forgery of the federation’s letter head and other atrocities committed, will be handled by the board at an appropriate time and due sanctions meted out.”
The retired army general said that the NBF was aware of Omo-Agege’s ambition to become president of African Boxing Federation (AFBC), saying, his “ambition has beclouded his reason of seeing the bold step taken by the Federation to salvage Nigerian boxing from sinking with others.”
Minimah stated that the IBA has been suspended by the IOC, which is at the verge of withdrawing boxing from future Olympics if steps were not taken to resolve the issues.
“Let me stress that we are proud to be associated with World Boxing where the likes of Great Britain, USA, Germany, Holland, Canada, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil, Jamaica, Honduras, Norway, Czech Republic, Panama and Iceland etc etc., are, to incorporate boxing into the Olympics. Nigeria is an Olympic nation.”
However, Omo-Agege is still insisting that Nigeria is not a member of World Boxing and has threatened to take the body to court if it fails to ‘cease interference’ in Nigeria’s matters.
Omo-Agege had pledged Nigeria’s unalloyed loyalty to the embattled IBA. In a statement circulated to African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) members, Omo-Agege said: “We reaffirm our firm loyalty to IBA, the sole IOC recognised international body and we stand in solidarity with IBA family.”
He said the news of Nigeria joining World Boxing was circulated to “tarnish the image of AFBC and IBA” and “will be dealt with internally.” According to Omo-Agege, “a significant decision of this magnitude can only be made by the board and the Congress, neither of which was convened.
“As the vice-president of NBF, I affirm I’m not aware of any rigorous application to join World Boxing.” In its reaction to Omo-Agege’s claims, World Boxing had said that Nigeria applied to join the body and was admitted because “its application to join World Boxing met all of the requirements for membership and has been approved by the executive board.
“The application was signed by all of the relevant senior officials within the federation and was supported by a letter from the Nigerian National Olympic Committee (NOC), which requested that World Boxing ‘kindly accord the Federation due recognition’ and confirmed that the Nigeria Boxing Federation is the only recognised body responsible for organising boxing in Nigeria.”