The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has fulfilled his promise to pay Nigeria’s youth and junior athletes to the CAA U-18/U-20 championships in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire last April allowances owed them by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) under the leadership of the now suspended president of the federation, Shehu Ibrahim Gusau.
The athletes competed in the competition under the harshest conditions, travelling by road for three days and were denied their allowances, even after the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development released N13m for the competition.
The athletes, through their acting representative on the board of the AFN, Charles Himah and the acting president, Olamide George appealed to the sports minister to look into the athletes’ predicament.
The minister, who revealed at the start of the new year that athletes welfare would be one of his focus in his sports development policy, made good his promise and ordered that the athletes should be paid part of their allowances.
“We are very grateful to the minister for coming to the rescue of the athletes, who were subjected to indecent treatments just because they wanted to represent their country, Nigeria,’ said the AFN acting president.
“ With Mr. Dare as sports minister, our sports, especially track and field is surely in good hands,” he added and revealed the board of the federation would be meeting on Thursday in Abuja at its secretariat.
“We are meeting on Thursday and part of what we shall discuss will be welfare of athletes. We are not happy that we begged the Sports Minister to bail us out after approval was received for Nigeria’s participation in the Abidjan championships and money duly released.
That was one of the reasons we asked our suspended president to come and give account of that and many other financial infractions, as well as breaches of the federation’s constitution,’ George said.
Meanwhile, a sports philanthropist, Alhaji Ahmed Ahedjo Kaita has replaced Solomon Ogba on the board of the federation.