Nigeria’s Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, has distanced himself from the bonuses and allowances the Federal Government owed the nation’s basketball team, D’Tigress.
He said this, in an emotional video uploaded on the official Facebook page of the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development, Nigeria.
The video was titled, “The Honourable Minister Sunday Dare @hmsundaydare reacts to Basketball Players, Says Govt Feels Their Pains, Appeals For Patience Whilst Restating That No Funds Were Diverted. Document shows”.
In a viral video, members of D’Tigress had expressed their dissatisfaction, and disappointment, claiming that they are being owed allowances and bonuses by the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
The women’s basketballers also added that, they are being marginalized and threatened to boycott future call-ups to represent Nigeria for the 2022 World Cup qualification series if all outstanding allowances are not paid.
In the video clip, the towering Ify Ibekwe, listed the figures owed and also included the $100,000 donation which was given to the team by three Nigerian banks in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Reacting, in an emotive video, Dare explained that government was doing its best to get the allowances paid.
Though, the Minister of sports didn’t mention the money the bank donated to the basketballers, and was diverted to another “unknown location’
He said, “For athletes who wear the Nigerian colour, it’s a commitment, sacrifice. As a minister, I also ensure that I support them.
“I work within a system where the allocation of resources is based on certain critical factors. What we have done is to ensure that we push the files and do the documentation. The processes are ongoing.
“I share the pains. These are allowances that are owed since 2017 when I was not even the minister.
“This is something that the government has on an incremental basis tried to address. I know that part of this money has been paid.
“I understand the pain and I want to put it on record that the ministry has never slept at a switch.”
These ladies, didn’t raise the issue of unpaid bonuses alone, there are other issued raised which was not attended to, in Dare’s video. They complained about being marginalized, unappreciated, and ill treated. One of the ladies said, they didn’t even have a presidential handshake, with everything they achieved.
In other News, the government, through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, has disclosed that the monies donated to both the senior female national team and their male counterpart are domiciled with the country’s apex.
“The $230,000 donated to the basketball teams by the banks under the Adopt-a-Team programme of the ministry is intact in the Nigeria Basketball Federation’s (NBBF) official domiciliary account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” Ismaila added in the statement issued on Wednesday.
“That only the 12 female team members of D’Tigress have supplied their foreign account numbers. The Ministry waited for the account numbers of the Male Team to be supplied so that the processing of payments can be one-off as requested by the CBN.”
According to him, the ministry had also asked the CBN to start processing the payment to both teams, explaining that the D’Tigers will be paid as soon as their account details are supplied.
“Ministry wishes to state further that all outstanding -Olympics and Paralympics Games allowances and bonuses are being processed and only slowed down by funds availability,” the ministry’s permanent secretary further explained.
It added that the Ministry of Finance has been informed about the “outstanding allowances and payments due to the NBBF and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and efforts are being made to secure the release”.