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Sports ministry reacts to allegation of diversion of basketball players’ fund

The ministry of youth and sports development has refuted claims that it diverted funds meant for the payment of the country’s male and female basketball teams’ allowances.

Recall that members of D’Tigress in a now-viral video had decried that they are being owed allowances and bonuses by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).

The women’s basketball team had also threatened to boycott future call-ups to represent Nigeria for the 2022 World Cup qualification series if all outstanding allowances are not paid.

Ify Ibekwe, one of the prominent figures in the D’Tigresd in the video clip 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 to the development via a statement released on Wednesday evening, the sports ministry dismissed claims that its officials shared some monies belonging to the basketball teams.

It also said that the monies are “intact in the Nigeria Basketball Federation’s (NBBF) official domiciliary account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”

The statement added that the funds, however, have not been disbursed because members of D’Tigers are yet to provide their account numbers “so that the processing of payments can be one-off as requested by the CBN.”

“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),” read the statement signed by Ismaila Abubakar, the permanent secretary of the ministry.

“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.

“The Ministry has requested the CBN to commence the processing of the payment to the Female Basketball Players immediately. The Male 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. Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance has been fully furnished with details of the outstanding allowances and payments due to the NBBF, and the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) and efforts are being made to secure the release.”

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