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FG Orders Probe Of Nigerian Football Federation

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Nigeria's Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung
Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung

Following the embarrassment that followed Nigeria’s emergence as champions in the African Women’s Cup of Nations, AWCON, sports minister Solomon Dalung has called for a “reputable audit” of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.

Dalung claims that there is about $802,000 unaccounted for in the NFF finances; but the federation denied the claims.

The development has led to FIFA halting its annual $1.1 million grant to Nigeria.

The federation insists there were no distortions during an earlier audit and that ‘the minister was clearly misinformed about the activities of the NFF board’.

Dalung, who was speaking at the NFF’s Annual General Meeting in Lagos, says the fresh audit was to examine how the grants provided by FIFA were spent.

“According to a report, Fifa has withheld all development funds to Nigeria for lack of proper documentation of $802,000 out of the funds released to NFF,” said Dalung.

“This is a very serious issue that must be given urgent attention to avoid another international embarrassment.

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“Even more so that the present administration under the leadership of Mr. President, His Excellency, Mohammadu Buhari has zero tolerance for any act of misappropriation, misapplication, embezzlement or fraud in any guise.

“To this end, the NFF is directed to immediately provide my office with detail information of receipt, disbursement and application of the FIFA development grant accordingly,” the minister said.

He added that “a reputable audit firm should be appointed urgently to check the account books of the federation to ensure that funds are judiciously expended.

“The audit report must be made public so as to promote transparency, build credibility and enhance your market value.”

However, the NFF released a communiqué after the AGM saying its congress expressed satisfaction with the explanation provided by the NFF board on the issues raised by the minister.

It states that: “the audited account of the Federation for the year, as audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, an internationally reputable audit firm, was presented and adopted at the General Assembly.”

This is not the first time that Dalung has clashed with the NFF leadership saying that organisation, which receives state financial support, lacks professionalism.

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“The NFF has formed the habit of requesting for funds for its program at very short notice and thereafter resort to blackmail to hasten the approval and release of such funds from government,” Dalung said.

“We cannot continue to administer our football in this manner any longer.”

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