By Christiana Ekpa and Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged disappearance of $150,000 from the International Amateurs Athletic Federation (IAAF) to the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
This followed a motion under matters of urgent national importance by Rep. Douye Diri (PDP-Bayelsa) during plenary.
Presenting the motion, Diri noted the reports published on various news outlet where the IAAF reportedly paid the sum of 150,000 dollars to AFN, instead of 15,000 dollars which was its annual grant to member federation for the year 2017.
He said, according to the reports, the IAAF accountants later discovered the error and subsequently asked AFN to refund the excess payment but the money seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
“Informed that some board members of the AFN are calling for an emergency congress to look into the scandal and have faulted the sport minister , Solomon Dalung who was said to have set up a committee to probe the circumstances surrounding the missing grant”
He expressed worry over allegations that sometime last year, the recipient of the money might have used his private account to collect the money from IAAF.
This he said happened, when the sports minister dissolved boards of various sports Federations.
The lawmaker further expressed worry that in this era of the operation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country, monies can be received and spent so easily, contrary to extant laws.
“The image of the country is not only being tarnished by the failure of the AFN to refund the excess payment at the instance of the IAAF,Nigeria also runs the risk of being banned from international competitions.”
He also expressed concern about the effect such a ban will have on the youth of the country who see sports as a viable means of livelihood.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The House therefore, mandated its Committee on Sports to carry out forensic audit on the alleged looting of the excess grant payment and determine steps to be taken to refund the money to the IAAF to prevent Nigeria being banned.
The Committee would also determine measures to be put in place, to prevent such infractions in future.
The House also resolved to invite the Minister of Youth and Sports, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria and any other connected parties to explain their roles in the matter.