141 Athletes, Officials in Niger Grumble over Unpaid Allowances  

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NATIONAL YOUTH GAMES FALLOUT
By Laleye Dipo in Minna
 
Over 140 athletes and officials that participated in the National Youth Games held in Ilorin Kwara State recently are now grumbling over their unpaid allowances.
 
The athletes and officials who have been visiting the state’s Sports Council in Minna since their return from the Games over two weeks ago have appealed to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to come to their rescue.
 
THISDAY checks at the weekend revealed that officials of the Sports Council have also been avoiding the athletes since their arrival as they no longer know what excuse to give them for the non payment of the allowances.
It was gathered that the athletes and their officials were being owed over N49million.
Further checks by THISDAY revealed that before the athletes departed Minna for the Games, they were told that they would be paid only three days allowance pending when the state’s Ministry of Finance will release the approved budget.
The athletes and officials were told that the Sports Council had to borrow N10m from one staff to enable the team leave for Ilorin.
One of the officials who spoke with THISDAY on condition of anonymity said each athlete was given N9,000 for three days while the officials got N15,000 for the same period.
The money according to the findings was far below the newly approved basic traveling allowance  BTA of N12,000 for senior civil servants and N5000 for junior workers per day.
according to the official, for the 10 days period the games lasted, nobody surfaced from Minna to pay the balance of the remaining seven days to both the officials and athletes.
“We learnt that the commissioner came to Ilorin but he did not visit us in the camp, he left for Minna without seeing any of us,” the official alleged.
All efforts to speak to the Commissioner for Sports Alhaji Mammam Musa was abortive as he was always said to be in a meeting.
Niger State placed 10th on the overall medals table winning six gold, two silver and one bronze in the Games won by Delta State with Akwa Ibom second and Ondo State third.