The failure of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC) to account for the sum of N2.9 billion approved for it by the Federal Government for the preparation of Team Nigeria for the past All Africa Games (AAG) in Congo Brazzaville and the Youth Olympic Games, as well as the preparations for Rio Olympics may have stalled the release of fund for the Games which comes up in August.
It was gathered that the fund, which was approved via a memo from the Presidency was only used for the prosecution of the All Africa Games and Youths Olympics, while nothing was left for the preparation of Team Nigeria for the Rio Olympics.
We gathered reliably that President Buhari, while approving the release of the fund demanded that the money be accounted for. But the failure of the defunct NSC to account for the money has stalled the release of more funds for Team Nigeria’s preparations for the summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
Confirming the development yesterday, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung regretted that the issue of the N2.9 billion is giving the ministry serious concerns, adding that it has contributed to the challenges the ministry is facing in securing more fund for the games.
Dalung, who insisted that the former NSC director general, Alhassan Yakmut, who superintended the disbursement of the released fund, must be made to account for the money, said he had to borrow money from other sources to complete the payment of the Team Nigeria accommodation in Rio when he could not lay his hand on any fund left from the approved fund.
“It is true that Mr. President approved the release of N2.9 billion last year for the defunct National Sports Commission. But as I seat today as a minister, I have not gotten enough information on how that money was spent. The story of the money is a serious concern to me. Since he never briefed me I am asking the question of how the money was spent. I have seen the memo on the issue of the money.
“I demanded for the memo of the approval of Mr President and I have seen it. The memo is very clear and it includes some of these things that we are saying here about release of fund. And Mr President wrote on that memo that the money released must be accounted for. Now, as far as I am concerned, the non accountability of the money is one of the challenges the new leadership is now facing in securing fund for our preparations for Rio Olympics. Those funds are supposed to address the issues that we have not been able to address up till now. I had to go out of my way to source for fund to pay for the balance of Team Nigeria hotel in Rio while the N2.9 billion is supposed to be part of the money we would have used for such payment. All these things were supposed to have been done before the former DG left, but he could not and the money was never handed over to us.
“I think that money remains something that the ministry is very concerned about and we want to know what happened to it”. He noted.