The media aid to the immediate past sports minister of Nigeria, Nneka Anibeze has offered a defence for her boss over the on-inclusion of fund for Super Eagles’ Africa Cup of Nations campaign in the 2019 budget.

According a press release she sent, Anibeze claimed that it was the NFF that failed to capture its Africa Cup of Nations tournament budget in its 2019 programs sent to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. 

In the defence put up, the media aid remarked that the immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung debunked contrary claims saying “that it is false and intended to portray the Ministry, particularly himself in bad light.”

Speaking on behalf of Dalung, she remarked that the NFF was asked “to submit their plans for 2019 to the office of Budget and National Planning, directly.

“They did not include AFCON in what they submitted to the Budget office. When the budget process was already advanced, I think it was already at the National Assembly when they discovered that they did not make provisions for AFCON.

“They approached the Ministry of Youth and Sports and I directed that they should write, so that we can apply for intervention from the office of the President. This happened towards the terminal date of the tenure of this administration. 

“I also took it up personally with the President as requested, for his special intervention to save the situation but of course, the process, as we all know is slow. It has to go to the office of the President to the Ministry of Finance for advice before it will now go to Budget office and back for approval.

“It is a cumbersome process and therefore it is yet to materialize. Based on the time they initiated the process, it is not the fault of anybody but the fault of the Nigeria Football Federation which completely failed to include AFCON when they were invited by the office of Budget and National Planning to submit their program and budget for the year.”

Dalung, according to the press release,  further stated that the Office of Budget and National Planning demanded that NFF send their programs for 2019 directly to its office because Sports had in the past three years taken the better chunk of Intervention Funds meant for other unforeseen events.

“The Budget Office told them to present all their activities for 2019 so that it can be captured in the budget instead of asking for intervention funds always. 

“Every self- accounting parastatal submits its budget directly to the Budget Office because it defends its budget. NFF has Capital and Recurrent Expenditure.

“It also receives monthly overhead from government so, it also submits its programs and budget to the Budget Office and defends same. The omission is from the NFF and not the Ministry. 

“For NFF to state that ‘It will be a big shame if we failed to succeed at the Nations Cup simply because one individual wanted to punish the leadership of the NFF by not submitting our budget to the Federal Government,’ is false and malicious and an attempt to pin their oversight on the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

“The NFF President came back from France on Thursday and was pushing for me to put more pressure on the government. I went looking for the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance to give them any form of assistance. If they are writing stories to curry public sympathy, Nigerians need to get the correct picture of what happened.

“There was no reason for this to have happened in the first place except for NFF’s campaign and claim that they can do without government’s funding and it backfired so they should own up to their mistake,” Dalung stated.

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