By Ben Efe
Over 500 technical officials from all over Nigeria have claimed that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria has ripped them off in the guise of providing them with technical certification.
It was gathered that the track and field referees under the aegis of the Nigeria Association of Technical Officials were made to pay N15,000 each in 2017 under the guise of being issued with certification. And it was also a yard stick to officiate at the 2018 African Athletics Championships held in Asaba, Delta State and the National Sports Festival in Abuja.
However, up till now there hasn’t been any examination or presentation of certificates to the affected persons. Only a seminar prior to Asaba 2018 was held. It was gathered that the monies were paid into a Zenith bank account 1000748769 belonging to a junior staff of the AFN.
“ Is this not a case of 419? It is a shame that highly placed members of the AFN could run this kind of racket,” said one of the technical official who pleaded anonymity.
“Members from all over the country paid into the personal account of a junior staff and not into the account of the AFN. This is just because they were made to understand that without that certification they may not be able to officiate. However, at the Asaba 2018 and National Sports Festival we saw many people who were not NATO members officiating in both events.
“As if this is not enough; after the National Sports Festival in Abuja so many of our members did not get the full allowance they are meant to be paid. Rather the AFN paid into the account of the NATO president and it was he who used his discretion to pay members against the practice where every member goes to the AFN to collect and sign for their money.”
Reacting to the development AFN board member Rosa Collins said this was the reason the AFN president, Ibrahim Gusau and the technical director, Sunday Adeleye were asked to step aside so that the myriads cases of financial misconduct could be investigated.
“Not every board member of the AFN know about these payments. Nigerians have the right to know how money was spent and who received what.
“But the sports ministry it seems have not really understood the gravity of these allegations. Because if they did, they wouldn’t be shielding anyone from being investigated.”