Hundreds of Nigerians on Sunday turned out at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja to welcome the first batch of victorious 2016 Paralympics athletes from Rio in Brazil.
The Team Nigeria to the Paralympics Games which ended on Sunday won 12 medals in Rio.
Receiving the athletes, the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youths and Sports, Luka Jonathan, congratulated the athletes for making the country proud.
Jonathan, who is the Director of Youths in the ministry, said the athletes have put the country on top of other African countries on the medals table.
“Today is a wonderful day the Lord has made that we should rejoice and be glad in it.
“We are celebrating you now because you have done this country proud.
“History was made with your victorious outing to Rio.
“We appreciate your individual and collective efforts which have placed Nigeria on a very prominent position on the medals table.
“I am happy that Nigeria has led other African nations in this Games,’’ he said.
Jonathan promised that there would be a proper reception for the athletes when they had all returned from Rio.
The Assistant Captain of the team and a silver medallist in power-lifting, Esther Oyema, thanked the government and the people of Nigeria for their support and prayers.
She thanked Nigerians for the reception at the airport, saying such had never happened before.
Oyema said the team was able to win medals because the members were determined to make the country proud.
Roland Ezuruike, gold medallist in -54kg power-lifting, attributed their success to God, hard work and determination.
He called on government to reward them by doing something that would better their lives.