Athletes participating in the Africa Senior Athletic Championship were left stranded at Murtala Muhammad Airport and at Asaba airport, 500km south of the capital, Abuja.
The African teams of at least 200 members were unable to travel to and from the airports since the Asaba airport is unlit and no flights can leave or land at night.
It is not sounding very good in Lagos. Tired and visibly upset team Kenya are now looking at options to fly back home ASAP if they can’t fly to Asaba today for Athletics champs that kick off tomorrow morning. Apparently airport in Asaba is unlit so no flights can land at night. pic.twitter.com/cczYijAgfP
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— Evelyn Watta (@evelynwatta) July 31, 2018
There had been doubts about the readiness of Asaba to host the event after it was given the rights in November 2017, but they were cleared when the President of Africa Athletics Council Kalkaba Malboum visited the area.
“When I came here I couldn’t believe Asaba could host this event. When I visited this stadium last year, I didn’t believe this stadium would host the tournament this year. I am very happy and proud of what has been achieved,” he added.
However, not so many athletes and officials share his sentiments.
Algerian team coach, Benid Amar said, “I have participated in a lot of Africa championships, but this championship has poor organisation.”
John Matiani, South Africa’s team manager placed the blame on the local organising committee.
“We spent two days in Lagos and we arrived on 28 July. We don’t have our passports and we still don’t know where our passports are.”
There has been no official statement from organisers of the event.
Here is how Africa reacted:
Nigeria should not be burdened with unnecessary drama like hosting the African Athletic Championship. They should be allowed to sort out their national problems without dragging everyone down with them.
Kenyan team now back in hotel after failing to fly to Asaba. pic.twitter.com/XJHMTLFzAI
— Saddique Shaban (@SaddiqueShaban) July 31, 2018
It’s a disgrace what is happening. Every member of the LOC of the African Athletics championships in Asaba should be ashamed. Paying musicians and acting all good on instagram while some athletes have been stranded for days in Lagos because, no flight plans were made. https://t.co/E2ZgXEp1n6
— Santos Akhilele ?? (@SantosTHEBOSS) August 1, 2018
Pres Buhari’s admin is plagued by never-seen-before criminal display of incompetence and poor planning
Latest show of shame is #Asaba2018 where foreign athletes set for Asaba 2018 African Athletics Championships are stranded in Lagos Airport for 3 days due to no flights to Asaba
— Uchenna (@Demoore90210) August 1, 2018
Apparently Nigeria is making a big fool of herself by trying to host African athletes. #Asaba2018 is already causing a national embarrassment, but sly, selfish and crooked politicians changing parties’ more important. Tueh!
— Oyinbo ikale (@phirmmzy) August 1, 2018
Nigeria decided to shame Africa by subjecting athletes to the 2018 Asaba African Senior Athletics Championship to such inhuman treatment at Lagos International Airport, apparently there are no enough flights to the Delta State city of Asaba. pic.twitter.com/1fNQSo1OEr
— Bonface Osano (@bonfaceosano) July 31, 2018
Seemingly the athletics federation of Nigerian is not well prepared for this @asaba2018 ….
Athletes stranded and sleeping everywhere, anywhere, anyhow..
I sympathise with most who came from outside Nigeria.#thisisNigeria
— Gbenga OK (@OkGbenga) August 1, 2018
It was the Confederation of African Athletics and the Asaba LOC to blame. The event was initially to be held in Lagos but was moved. The organisers were to arrange transport to Asaba https://t.co/6440MwPcqP
— Carol Radull (@CarolRadull) July 31, 2018
#Asaba2018 , this is Naija
Plz foreign athletes bear with us, we are used to these.
— agina emeka (@emyagina) August 1, 2018