February 13, (THEWILL) – Senator John Owan Enoh, Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, has strongly condemned the cyberbullying targeted at Super Eagles and Fulham midfielder, Alex Iwobi, following Nigeria’s 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), final on Sunday.
Enoh, who accompanied the Super Eagles squad back to Nigeria from Abidjan after the match, met privately with Iwobi and reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to protecting the country’s athletes from bullying both on and off the field. This stands as the latest instance of the Ministry speaking out against the alarming tendency to vilify players based on match results rather than celebrating their effort and sacrifice in representing Nigeria.
According to a statement from Enoh’s media adviser Diana Mary Nsan, the Minister affirmed: “As a Ministry, this isn’t the first time we are going to make a statement against bullying, not just you, but our sportsmen and women in general, who are exposed to bullying due to the outcome of competitions.” He went on to express concern over “how our sportsmen and women are treated.”
The onslaught of abusive comments directed at Iwobi in the wake of Sunday’s loss led the former Arsenal player to delete most of the content on his social media accounts. Minister Enoh stated that he too has opted to remove himself from social media in a show of solidarity.
As the Super Eagles regroup and set their sights on future tournaments, Minister Enoh and the Ministry of Sports Development have reiterated their stance against cyber harassment of players. They maintain that competitive spirit should not give way to personal attacks.
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Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.