By Ben Efe
World athletics ruling body, IAAF is considering ways to sanction its local affiliate, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, after Nigerian sports officials failed to account for a $150,000 grants by the IAAF.
The amount was said to have been paid by the IAAF as part of its $15,000 annual grants to member federations for the year 2017, but the AFN erroneously received $150,000. And later on the IAAF accountants discovered the error and subsequently asked AFN to refund the excess payment. However, as they say in local parlance, the money had already entered “voice mail.”
It was gathered that upon receiving the amount, the AFN secretary-general, confused about the amount contacted his superiors at the sports ministry and from then on, the money developed wings.
Several calls and text messages were placed to the secretary-general Ameachi Akau to explain the development, but there was no response from his end. However, a member of the AFN and a senior athlete confirmed the development.
“It is true…but I think the AFN secretary-general and the sports ministry officials are in the best position to explain to Nigerians,” said Gabriel Okon.
It was gathered that as a measure to recover the money, the IAAF has withheld all further payments to the AFN, while considering other options to retrieve the excess payment.
“This is the reason we haven’t been paid our winnings at the 2017 World Championships,” said a member of the Nigerian 4x400m quarter.
“We have also not received our winnings at the Bahamas World relays. Right now I hate to be a Nigerian athlete and I don’t think anyone should blame the kids running to other countries,” said the athlete.