No Budget Provision In 2024 Appropriation For Renovation Of Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Says Sports Ministry

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No budget provision was made for the renovation and maintenance of Ahmadu Bello Stadium in the 2024 appropriation, says the Federal Ministry of Sports Development.

This was contained in a statement issued by Mrs Kehinde Ajayi, director and head, press and public relations unit, Ministry of Sports Development and made available to newsmen on Friday’s night in Abuja.

According to the statement, “The attention of the Ministry of Sports Development has been drawn to recent newspaper reports wherein Hon. Ekene Adams, the Chairman House Committee on Sports, accused the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh of insincerity with the development of sports. Specifically, in his attempt to push this strange narrative, Honourable Adams said: “Why should the Minister still allocate a budget for the renovation of and maintenance of the Ahmadu Bello stadium in the 2024 budget after the stadium had been handed over to the Kaduna State Government.” In yet another publication, he also accused the Honourable Minister of opaqueness in the disbursement of FG’s N12 billion Intervention Fund.”

Ajayi said after going through the self-serving news report, it appears Hon. Ekene Adams takes for granted the burden of the high office he presently occupies on behalf of his constituents and the responsibility that comes with it.

“Having acted in such an undignified and unparliamentary manner in the pursuit of his personal vendetta, our fear is that this sad commentary has the consequence of bringing to public odium and ridicule the image of the legislature as an institution. This is sad.

“It is common knowledge that Hon. Ekene Adams has been sick and indisposed since the beginning of this administration; he is at best, the Chairman of the House Committee on Sports in absentia having to spend a lot of time in hospital taking care of his health. The Honourable Minister of Sports Development has had to visit him in his sick bed in the hospital at some point. He didn’t have to do this. As a result of this reality, it is safe to conclude that Hon Ekene is out of touch with reality and therefore incompetent to make an informed comment and fully appreciate the ongoing raft of reforms in the sports sector under the guidance and leadership of the Minister of Sports Development,” she said.

She asserted that if such a provision was made in the 2024 appropriation for the renovation and maintenance of Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, it would still constitute an indictment on Hon Ekene Adams-led House Committee on Sports whose duty it is to scrutinize the budget before passage.

“No budget provision was made for the renovation and maintenance of Ahmadu Bello Stadium in the 2024 appropriation. If such a provision was made, it would still constitute an indictment on the Committee on Sports he chairs whose duty it is to scrutinize the budget before passage.

“The allegation of opaqueness in the disbursement of the N12 billion Federal Government’s Intervention Fund by the Ministry is spurious and untrue.

“First it is difficult to understand which N12b he is referring to. If it is close to N12b that Mr. President intervened for outstanding debts owed to various male and female football national teams, the Honourable Member should have been aware that the Honourable Minister instituted a new accountability and transparency process to ensure prudence in the management of the fund.

“He should have known that, although the entire money was released to the Ministry of Sports account, at the Honourable Minister’s directive, the entire sum was fully transferred to the account of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the appropriate body that incurred the outstanding debts, and this can be verified. Everyone in both the Ministry and the sector acknowledged and applauded this move as an uncommon display of transparency. Hon. Adams’ allegation of opaqueness is therefore founded on avoidable ignorance and / or mischief. Given the channels of communication the Minister already established with his committee, it would have been easy for Hon. Adams to seek clarification if only he wanted to play fair and in good faith.

“But if his reference to opaqueness in the disbursement of his so called N12b is in respect of the yet to be held Olympics and Paralympics Games in Paris, Hon Ekene should have known that there is at present, a request before Mr. President for funding intervention. For the avoidance of doubt, the request from the Ministry is fully backed up with a detailed breakdown of every expenditure item. The funds to be approved will be based on this detailed budget.

“The scorecard of the Honourable Minister speaks eloquently for itself. As a result of his leadership, there is a new atmosphere of transparency in the sports sector anchored on his belief that it is the only way that the private sector and corporate Nigeria can have the confidence enough to invest in the sports sector in an era of promoting sports as business. Unfortunately, what Hon. Ekene Adams is promoting in his pursuit of self interest is to demarket a sector he claims to own and know more


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