From ROMANUS UGWU, Abuja
Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung has disclosed that his ministry is pushing for President Muhammadu Buhari to meet and honour the athletes who did the country proud at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Dalung said yesterday that he has written President Buhari even as he expressed confidence that he would get a favourable response from Aso Rock. He was however quick to point out that the athletes were handsomely rewarded during the Games.
His words: “It is not correct for anybody to assert that they have not been rewarded when he has not done the job of verification very well. The reward for Paralympians was automatic.
“I supervised the payment of bonuses of $5000 for gold medallists, $3000 for silver medallists and $2000 for bronze medallists. So, those raising the issue that they have not been compensated may not by aware.
“Even, Yakubu, who had a world record, but due to administrative lapses, was unable to be presented to defend his medal, I insisted that it will be unjust to exclude him from those who have got medals. His record was not even beaten by the person who took the medal. The difference was that he was not presented by the country.
“So, I instructed that he must also get $5000 as a gold medallist. So, it is not correct to say that they have not been compensated. After the reward from the ministry, there is a need to get presidential blessing. So, if Nigerians are talking about the presidential blessing, I have written to the president.
“As soon as we get his approval, a day to honour those who have made Nigeria proud, will be honoured. Let’s not lose touch of the fact that we as a country are undergoing challenges. So, we must do things based on reality on the ground,” he said.