By Wale Joseph, Abuja
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has declared that the process of selecting beneficiaries of the Athletes Relief Fund was transparent and fair. The Ministry is duly in charge through a committee that was set up by the Minister.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr
Gabriel Aduda, “There were certain criteria put into consideration in selecting beneficiaries of the Athletes Relief Fund. What we did was to look at the entire gamut of those that have qualified for the Olympics but have not been adopted or adopted but yet to receive the funds from their adopters.
“Next, we considered active athletes and athletes that would have competed at the postponed National Sports Festival in Edo and those that have represented us in the past. Since their source of earnings had ceased due to the suspension of sporting activities, we felt this was the best way of asssisting them.
“These groups have been placed in batches. It is an ongoing process as more athletes who met the set down criteria have been penciled down to benefit”.
He further explained that the fund is not Atheletics Federation of Nigeria’s money, nor that of the Nigerian Olympics Committee. Rather, it is Nigerian athletes who meet the committee’s criteria for the relief. It is a private initiative based on the Ministry’s PPP model. “Over 170 athletes were listed to benefit. It is an on going process until the N10 million which is domiciled in the Ministry’s CBN account is exhausted. With payment being strictly electronic, the disbursement process is fully transparent such that every kobo is accounted for. This exercise will span two to three weeks and every donation that comes goes to the account with the CBN,” Aduda concluded