Dalung: Nigerian Sports Not Backed by Law

By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, stirred the Hornet’s Nest when he said that there was no legal framework in support of funding of sports in Nigeria.
Dalung contented that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which receives a monthly subvention of N150 million and the now proscribed National Sports Commission (NSC) were strangers to the laws of the land.
The minister, a former law teacher, known not to hide his views, told reporters that he gave similar opinion when he faced the Senate and House of Representatives’ Sports Committee about lack of legislative backing for sports in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) which is recognised by law was renamed NFF by the board in 2006. But the bill which is supposed to be an act of parliament is yet to ratify the change.
“I asked the National Assembly members, when they accused me of scrapping NSC, if they were aware that sports is not legislated in Nigeria. They were looking at me and wanted to know if the billions they were appropriating to NSC and NFF were illegal. I was assertive and said that is left for them to determine.
“I am an executive, I don’t make law, I implement law. NFF is one of the decisions I inherited,” Dalung stressed.
The minister who scrapped the NSC last month and caused its Director General, Alhassan Yakmut, to be deployed, said the NSC which came onto being in 1971 via a decree, technically ceased to exist when it was never updated as a parastatal by the law reform of 2004.
“In law any legislation that never receives the attention of government is dead. There is no law backing NSC and I did not see it when I arrived as the minister as the product of mergence of two ministries”, Dalung said.
Similarly, he said American coaches, Angie Taylor and Eric Campbell, who were earlier sacked have now been reinstated as High Performance directors for Nigerian athletes for Rio 2016.
Their contracts have, however, been revised as they are now placed on $10,000 per month salary as against the $15,000 salary they were earning since 2013.
Dalung said he reinstated them to save the relations between Nigeria and the US as well as to prevent the country from paying heavy damages arising from the breach of their contracts.