BY LIAM MORGAN.
An emergency meeting of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is due to be held later this week to decide if an investigation into its President Ibrahim Gusau regarding an erroneous payment given to the organisation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) should be reopened.
The meeting on Thursday (June 13) in Abuja represents the latest installment in the crisis at the AFN linked to the $150,000 (£117,000/€134,000) the IAAF accidentally paid the AFN in 2017, which has still not been refunded.
According to The Guardian in Nigeria, the Sports Ministry has asked the AFN to re-examine if Gusau is culpable for the failure to repay the money.
Previous reports had claimed Gusau spent the overpayment on kits and allowances for the Nigerian athletes at their home African Championships last year.
Gusau told the Punch publication that he was ready to be investigated over the issue and claimed he was being “troubled” by “money that I have never met and money that I don’t have control over”.
The IAAF mistakenly paid $150,000 into the AFN account two years ago – the amount due should have been an annual grant to Member Federations of $15,000 (£11,700/€13,400).
In a letter sent to the AFN last month, the IAAF warned Nigeria would incur sanctions if the $134,000 (£104,000/€120,000) that was overpaid was not returned.
Dalung had interpreted the warning as a threat that the IAAF would ban Nigeria from international competition.
This was later categorically denied by the IAAF, which insisted it had “no intention” to suspend the AFN.
The IAAF then claimed its President Sebastian Coe had reached an “amicable resolution” with Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalung on the repayment of the money.
It is not exactly clear what agreement Coe and Dalung reached but the IAAF is confident the full amount will be returned in the near future.
In August last year, Dalung supposedly pledged to immediately sign off the repayment of half of the missing money, although the IAAF has neither confirmed nor denied if this was ever paid.
The IAAF revealed at the time that it had received an unspecified “small amount” from the AFN.
insidethegames has contacted the IAAF for comment.