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Should all Nigerian athletes get health insurance?

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All Nigerian sports internationals will have their healthcare covered, if a Nigerian politician succeeds in pushing through legislation on the matter.

Ibrahim Olanrewaju has taken up the issue after Bidemi Aluko, who played in goal for Nigeria’s national women’s football team, struggled to pay for her cancer treatment.

Olanrewaju represents a constituency in Aluko’s home state, Ekiti, in Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

“These are the sportsmen who are striving every day to promote the image of Nigeria,” the MP told BBC Sport Africa.

“When they are giving something to Nigeria, we should be giving them something back.”

In July, Olanrewaju managed to persuade the House of Representatives to agree to a motion, external that urged the Ministry of Youths and Sport Development to “provide comprehensive health insurance for all Nigerian footballers under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)”.

Olanrewaju, 45, has since confirmed to the BBC that he would like the ruling to cover all Nigerian internationals, regardless of sport.

Under his proposal, the sports ministry would pay contributions into the insurance scheme and the NHIS would take up the rest of the costs should an individual require treatment.

Aluko, who played for the Super Falcons between 2010-2012, has been reduced to relying on the goodwill of others after selling her possessions to meet the costs of her treatment.

Last week, the Nigeria Football Federation announced it will pay nearly $14,000 (£11,200) towards the 26-year-old’s treatment.

The announcement came days after BBC Sport Africa featured Aluko’s plight.

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