by Mark Bassey
Nigerian athletes at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, UK, have been received six days competition allowances from the National Sports Commission (NSC). Thought if he had his way, the boss of the commission would have rather they didn’t.
Gbenga Elegbeleye, the Director-General of the Commission, confirmed the payment and added that the story of the athletes’ allowances has been blown out of proportion. He also blamed pressure from the media for what he described as a premature payment.
“It is you journalists that rushed us into paying them; we did not want to pay earlier because it will cause a lot of distractions for the athletes,” he said.
“The money is right here with us, but when you people (media) keep writing that they are suffering and that they have not been paid, then we have no option but to pay them.
“You (NAN) are in the Games Village; did you see any supermarket here? What will they use the money for? Food is free here; so why do we have to give them money now?
“We only thought of what we considered safest for them until the end of the Games.”
Elegbeleye also said the athletes who won medals have been paid their allowances and winning bonuses, but urged them to put patriotism first before money.