Nigeria Scrabble Federation board has released a statement on the recent inability of the national Scrabble team to secure visas to Poland to compete at the World Championships. Full text of the release is below.
PRESS RELEASE ON THE WARSAW VISA IMBROGLIO
Dear Scrabble Family Members,
We are indeed very sad that our Team could not make the WSC in Warsaw Poland,we are hereby obliged to write this release to intimate you with the immediate and remote causes of the unfortunate situation.
- We want to disabuse your mind that the situation has nothing to do with the recent past occurrences with the suspended players nor does it have anything to do with the Concessionaire.
- We couldn't have applied earlier than we did in view of the fact that we had to conclude the Preliminaries on the one hand and we have to be sure of money to finance the whole exercise.
- Some of you may be aware that His Excellency Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom,came to our rescue on the issue of finance and as such we put in our papers.>
- The process of getting Visas for a National Team is a diplomatic issue anywhere in the world hence we couldn't have made any move until the NOTE VERBALE was released. The note Verbale contained the name of all the members of the contingent i.e the Team members as well as the officials.
- The Note Verbale was presented to the consular but he refused to accept it insisting that we should go and send it through e-mail and that the earliest day available for interview will be on the 3rd of October, a date that will definitely make it impossible for the team to get the Visas on good time for the competition and we appealed for an earlier date; 26th of September.
- At this point we brought in The Press Team who put up a concerted effort to force the hand of the Polish embassy to give our contingent the Visa.
- The attitude of the Polish embassy becomes questionable from this point,the embassy kept on assuring us that the Visa is being processed procrastinating the issuance from day to day until it became obvious that they have no genuine intention to give us the visa albeit for what reason we cannot say.
- In order for the maintenance of our National Integrity we demanded that our Document be returned to us which they did without returning money paid for application and insurance.
- We are of the opinion that THE CONSPIRACY THEORY is at work but to whose benefit we are at sea,but we want to assure all concerned that the issue will be taken up officially and diplomatically by the right quarters
- Finally, we have taken a decision that all the members of the team denied this trip will be sponsored to the up coming CAUSEWAY in Malaysia and prior to that we are looking forwards to a National Workshop,National Congress,National Championship and a Gala Night in that order; venue and date of which will be announced later.
I on behalve of the NSF Board hereby expressed our sincere apology to our Scrabble family that such will not happen again bearing in mind that a lot of efforts on our own side had also gone down the drain.
MR FASHOLA S. KAYODE
SOUTH-WEST ZONAL REPRESENTATIVE
NIGERIA SCRABBLE FEDERATION.
Nigeria is not participating in this year's World Scrabble Championship holding from 11th-16th October 2011 in Warsaw Poland. Visa applications for the team met a brickwall at the Polish embassy, despite the team presenting the necessary documents for visa applications. The Sec. General of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation broke the news via a press release sent via email (reproduced below) to the members this morning.
PRESS RELEASE - NIGERIA SCRABBLE TEAM VISA REFUSAL TO POLAND
The Nigerian Contingent to the World Scrabble Championship were denied entry visas to Poland yesterday (10th October 2011), which was the last day the contingent could depart for the event; which starts holds from the 11th of October - 16th October 2011.
The refusal was despite the embassy being provided with all the necessary/ relevant documents including a note verbale from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and also a letter of Introduction from the National Sports Commission (NSC).
The contingent was refused entry visas even though visa applications were submitted since on the 19th of September 2011 (22 days ago).
This act is viewed as a deliberate attempt at preventing Nigeria from participating in the World Scrabble Championship which has never happened before!