Minister of Sports, Dalung puts athletes on blast for seeking cash rewards from Buhari

Nigeria's Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, has reacted to reports that athletes who won medals at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Australia, are unhappy about not being financially rewarded by the president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Dalung said the athletes are being "unfair to Nigeria" and stated that they were financially rewarded by the  ministry while in
Australia.

In an interview with The PUNCH Newspaper, Dalung said: “I think we have a responsibility to educate those complaining. There is a laid down policy that if you win a medal you will be rewarded, and those who won medals were rewarded instantaneously in Australia”  

“Those who participated got their entitlements for their daily allowances for  the number of days they were away at the Games. So, nobody has any reason to complain about any remuneration because all these issues were taken up.”

He went on saying, “If you are expecting anything from the President, that should be at the President’s discretion but I don’t think any athlete will be fair to Nigeria or the ministry to say he or she still expects anything. No.

“We discharged our obligation and we are not wanting. In fact for the first time in the history of Nigeria, we went for a competition well-kitted; every athlete was given a kit bag containing not less than 10 different items including trainers. I think we should learn to appreciate when things are done correctly in this country.”

Nigeria finished ninth on the medals table at the Games with nine gold, nine silver and six bronze but the medalists had lamented the ‘handshake reward’ from Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo during a visit to the Presidential Villa on May 29.

Roland Ezuruike, who won gold in the men’s powerlifting event at the Games, had said, “It was very painful that we had to travel all the way there for only a handshake. I think there should be a special consideration for athletes with disabilities because it takes a lot of courage and determination for many of us to go into sports. We were expecting that some form of reward would be given to us when we were told that the President would receive us.”



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