July 18, 2024

James Johnson, formerly known as Iyabo Abade, a former player for Nigeria’s women’s national football team, the Super Falcons, has made a heartfelt plea to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for financial assistance amounting to N69.7 million.

Johnson, a confirmed hermaphrodite, seeks the funds to undergo corrective surgery that will enable him to father children.

Johnson, who played for the Super Falcons between 1997 and 2000, underwent a sex change operation in the United States in 2004. This surgery was funded by the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, following several failed attempts to correct his condition, which led to his removal from the women’s national team.

Hermaphroditism, a rare condition in which an individual has both male and female reproductive organs, was discovered in Johnson during his football career, leading to his eventual sex reassignment surgery.

In a recent interview, Johnson disclosed that he reached out to the NFF last year for financial support to complete the final stages of his surgery but has yet to receive a response. Now 40 years old, Johnson expressed his deep desire to become a father and fulfill his life’s aspirations.

“Whenever I think about not being able to father a child, it breaks me. That’s why I appealed to the federation for financial help. I believe that NFF president Ibrahim Gusau, who is known for his compassionate nature, can help me achieve my dream,” Johnson said.

In a letter addressed to NFF President Ibrahim Gusau, titled “Appeal for financial assistance to enable me to finalize my surgery of transforming from an intersex person to a full-fledged man so that I can father a child,” Johnson detailed his need for the funds to undergo the remaining two phases of his surgery.

Dated April 4, 2023, the letter read, “Mr. President, I am passionately appealing for your assistance to travel to the United States where I previously underwent the first and second phases of my surgery at Midway Hospital Medical Centre, Los Angeles. I need to complete the third and fourth phases to become a full man and father children. The total cost is $160,000, equivalent to N69,750,000.”

The letter further explained Johnson’s background, “I was born with both female and male organs and raised as a female. My passion for football led to my selection for the Super Falcons in 1997. After a test confirmed I am 70% male and 30% female, my appointment as a female player was terminated. The Nigeria Football Association then recommended sex corrective surgery, which was initially sponsored by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai in 2004.”

Johnson recounted his subsequent career, including stints with NEPA Football Club of Abuja, Plateau United of Jos, and Crown Football Club of Ogbomoso in Oyo State, where he faced discrimination and humiliation.

Johnson’s plea underscores his determination to complete his transformation and live a fulfilled life. He remains hopeful that the NFF will respond to his call for assistance, enabling him to achieve his dream of becoming a father.

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