The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has condemned the failure of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to return the excess of $135,000 which the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) mistakenly remitted to it.
In 2017 the IAAF, while trying to disburse the $15,000 it remits to each of its affiliated federations around the world, erroneously overpaid Nigeria.
Soon after, they discovered the mistake. IAAF wrote to its Nigeria’s affiliate body, AFN, to return the excess to no avail. Even reminders and discussions with the sports authorities in the country have not yielded any result.
It is regrettable that the federation and indeed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports have for over two years failed to find out how the money developed wings from the accounts of the AFN to the extent that the IAAF has threatened sanctions on Nigeria.
In fact, Nigeria is set to be barred from the forthcoming All Africa Games in Morocco this year due to this embarrassing scandal.
SWAN said that it is even more worried because when the issue broke out, the House of Representatives Committee on Sports said it was going to investigate the matter but till date nothing has been heard.
The sportswriters’ body stressed that perhaps, if the lawmakers had diligently carried out their investigation, the country would have been saved this international embarrassment.
SWAN, therefore calls on the Federal Government, in line with its zero tolerance for corruption, to immediately initiate a thorough investigation into how Nigeria arrived at this inglorious situation and bring everybody involved to book.
SWAN insists that Nigerian athletes must not suffer for the brazen misdemeanor of some personnel at both the AFN and the Sports Ministry.