Monday, March 23, 2020

Despite COVID-19 warnings, athletes in Ondo stage heavy protest against non-payment of camp allowance

There was heavy protest at the premises of the Ondo State Sports Council by athletes over non-payment of their camp allowances despite approval by the state government.

The athletes blocked entrance to the sports council and accused the General Manager, Wande Fabuluje and the State’s Commissioner for Sports, Dotun Owanikin of trying to shortchange them in the payment of their camp allowances.

The National Sports Festival, billed to have started on March 20, was postponed as part of measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 virus in the country.

Chairman of the Labour Union in the Sports Council, Comrade Moses Usifo said Fabuluje had promised the allowances would be paid last Thursday but nothing was done.

Usifo said the athletes were supposed to have been paid since they have been decamped following postponement of the National Sports Festival.

His words, “Nowhere in the world that camp will be disbanded without athletes being paid.

“Since 2018, we have been facing a big buildup of fraud in Ondo State Sports Council and we say enough is enough. In 2018, Government released N75 million and N25m was embezzled. The money was meant for equipment.

“We wrote a petition and some people were begging us to withdraw the petition, but we are still standing on the petition. We want to use this medium to plead with Ondo State Government to take proper action on the incompetence of the General Manager of the Ondo State Sports Council.

“The government has released money for the National Sports Festival, athletes had been decamped and they are not yet paid since on Friday and the GM told us that the money will be paid on Thursday and they are yet to pay. The athletes are stranded and angry that’s why the protest is on,” he said.

Ondo State Basketball Coach, Fisayo Bello, said the state government order was for the athletes to be at home due to Covid-19 threat but transportation and other camp entitlements were yet to be paid.

Bello said, “The National Sports Festival 2020 has been postponed and the commissioner gave his word that every allowance should be paid and every athletes to be in camp till they pay their transportation and allowance back homes based on the Covid-19 threats.

“This was why so many sports activities have been cancelled. Athletes are still in camp, no feeding, no allowance has been paid.”

But Fabuluje described the allegations as false.

He said the camp has been disbanded following government directives.

Fabuluje said the athletes have started receiving alerts in batches since Friday as approved by the state government.

He stated that those protesting were the batch that had not received their alert.

“As am speaking with you now, I am in the bank and their allowances are being paid.”