FCT Minister Mohammed Bello during the festival
By Amaechi Agbo
Two years after recording the highest podium finish in the National Sports Festival, NSF, coaches and athletes who represented Federal Capital Territory FCT in the 2018 festival held in Abuja have cried out asking why the money which has been released for various medals they won during the competition has not been disbursed to them.
It was gathered that the money has been released by the Ministry to the Department of Treasury (DoT) since April 2020 but nothing has been heard as regards when it will be disbursed to the athletes who won medals as promised by the minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello.
FCT Minister had promised that Gold medallist will smile home with Three hundred thousand (N300,000), Silver medallist with Two hundred thousand (N200,000) while bronze will receive One hundred thousand (N100,000) naira each.
Some of the athletes’ parents who are staff of the DoT confirmed the payment into the Department’s account but wondered why nothing has been said about getting the money to athletes and coaches particularly now that they need it the most due to negative impact of Covid 19 on the economy.
A gold medallist who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “I appreciate the good work the Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Bello has been doing particularly approving the bonuses for athletes who won medals at the last National Sports Festival. We were happy when we heard the money has been released to the Department of Treasury since April, 2020. But our hopes has been dashed because till this moment, no news about when we are going to get our money. They should know that things are hard now. There is no money anywhere. We plead that they should help us facilitate how it will get to us.
In the same vein, another athletes who confirmed to journalists that his parent works with DoT said, “We have confirm information that the Ministry of FCT has released the money to the DoT because my parent who works there told me that it was paid into their account in April. This is the best time to pay this money to us. We suffered by training very hard before we won medals. Paying us now will serve as a morale booster ahead of the next National Sports Festival in Edo. What is delaying the money that have been paid into a Department’s account since April? He asked rhetorically.
FCT finished 7th in the final medals at the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja with 21 gold, 9 silver and 25 bronze medals, the best result for FCT in National Sports Festival.
Gold medallist is expected to receive Three hundred thousand (N300,000), silver medallist to get Two hundred thousand (N200,000) while bronze medallist supposed to receive One hundred thousand naira each.