The Nigeria Basketball Federation under the leadership of Engr Musa Kida has absolved itself of any complicity for bonuses and allowances owed the Women Senior National Team.
Kida who appeared before the House Committee on Sports on Thursday alongside the Secretary General of the NBBF and some members of the board said the current situation is a direct result of the level of funding from the Federal Government since coming on board in 2017.
The Federation who fully funded the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket championship from externally sourced loans said the teams (men and women) were paid based on the reality on ground and the financial commitment of the government to its programmes.
He lamented that despite series of meetings with the D’Tigress with the last being during the Olympics camping in the USA, the girls never trusted him while succumbing to external influence to rubbish the federation and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“I held a meeting with the girls and I told them, I know that there were bonuses that I promised to pay you. There were short falls from allowances (for pre World Cup qualifiers in Mozambique) that I was supposed to pay you, but I told them we have not been refunded of up to half of what we have spent since 2017.
“I told them if I was to give you these bonuses, something will have to give,” Kida told the House Committee.
“Honorable Chairman, I don’t also want to be discouraged from promising them bonuses (then or in the future) because I think it is part and parcel of motivating athletes.”
The House Committee on Sports Chairman Olumide Osoba said the recent happenings underscore the importance of a National Sports Commission backed by law.
Osoba said that to avoid issues relating to financing, budgeting and internal administrative interference, the NSC bill must be expedited and become a law.
“Without a National Sports Commission, we will continue having issues with the federations. The National Sports Commission is the overall body that supervises the federation and we used to have that and things were working smoothly.
“Obviously, some people at the National Sports Commission abused their powers and the President (His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari) was advised by the former minister (Solomon Dalung) to abolish the commission.
“He is optimistic that all issues will be resolved as the “The Minister (Sunday Dare) now is on board with the House of Representatives and Senate that we need the National Sports Commission.”
The session was adjourned till Monday by the committee.