Nigerian athletes are at the risk of been thrown out of the sport over no fault of theirs but because of the greed of certain elements within the country’s sports authorities who have misappropriated an over payment to the federation.
Last Monday, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) received a warning letter from the world governing body-IAAF that if within the next two weeks, the over payment of the $150,000 it wrongly credited to Nigeria is not repaid in full, sanctions are likely to follow.
This warning is coming on the heels of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung who promised that his ministry was going to repay 50 per cent of the ‘missing money’ was going to step down from office.
In the letter addressed to President of the AFN, Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, IAAF said: “ We understand that the Minister of Sports will be stepping down soon and it will be imperative that you arrange for the return of the full amount within two weeks at the latest. Failure to receive the funds within that period, we will have no alternative than to apply appropriate sanctions against your federation,” the letter signed by IAAF’s Senior Manager, Governance, Member & International Relations Department, Jee Isram.
observed in part.
Two years ago, the IAAF made an over payment to the AFN. Instead of the usual grant of $15,000 the world athletics body paid $150,000. When the mistake was discovered in just matter of days, a letter was written to AFN to refund the money.
But Amaechi Akawo who was secretary general of AFN at the time when no board was yet to be constituted for the federation was alleged to have used part of the money to run a competition. Nothing was said of the balance.
But in a bizarre twist, Sports Minister Dalung offered to repay 50 per cent of the money back to IAAF.
Despite repeated correspondences on the matter and two years gone, the said money is yet to be returned to IAAF.