NYG: Financial Crisis Hit FCT Team; Athletes/Officials, Hungry
By Amaechi Agbo
Best Choice Sports have gathered that despite the Federal Capital Territory, FCT winning no less than five gold medals so far at the on-going 5th edition of the National Youth Games in Ilorin Kwara State, that all is not well with the FCT Team.
This is because the FCT Team is currently hit with financial crisis as the FCT Ministry is yet to release money for the Games.
The contingent which arrived the venue of the Games at the University of Ilorin on Saturday, have been thrown into confusion as athletes and officials lament the deplorable situations the FCT Team is passing through occasioned by lack of funds.
An official who spoke to Best Choice Sports on confidence said that the financial situation did not start at the games rather it has been there during their camping.
“What do they want us to do? The situation did not start in Ilorin. It started from Abuja, even our camping allowances are not paid. We endured it then now this is the main event. These children are performing in empty stomachs.
“As I am talking to you right now, the coaches and officials have been surviving on their own. Everybody is hungry and angry. Did they bring us here to suffer?” the official concluded.
A sports journalist who is covering the Games told Best Choice Sports that the FCT Sports Council managed to source for money before the games started but added that right now (as at Thursday morning) the FCT team have not received any money from the FCT Ministry.
“They managed to source for money before coming but they do not have money now. But the information I have is that the minister has approved money for the Games but the money has not be released.
“They are sourcing for money through Kwara State and that is very sad. Next year FCT will participate in the National Sports Festival and it is most likely the story will be the same.
“On the money issue, they said that the money has been approved by the minister but the guy in the treasury has refused to release it. This is a big problem and they need to sort it out urgently. The athletes are ready to perform but how far would they go in an empty stomach and unfavourable environment?” the journalist who craved anonymity, queried.
When contacted, the Special Assistant on Media to FCT Minister of State, Mr Austin Elemue told our reporter that the money for the NYG was released this morning (Thursday).
“I called the FCT Director of Sports who is in Ilorin as we speak to confirm what you are inquiring about. She said that the athletes are not stranded per se, that they are coping. That the team has been coping.
“As I speak with you now, the Permanent Secretary told me that the money for the games was sent this morning (Thursday) for the FCT contingents. He also directed that the Director should go and check the money and ensure that the FCT Team are comfortable.
“I can assure you that from what the Permanent Secretary briefed the Minister of State, the money has been released. The approval was given few days ago but they released the money this morning.
“The Director said that because of anticipatory release, they have been managing themselves, so the money has been released,” he concluded.