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Reps query presidency over London 2012 fund release

Published by Guardian on Thu, 26 Jan 2012

THE House of Representatives' Committee on Sports has frowned at the Federal Government's recentapproval for the release of N350 million for the National Sports Commission (NSC) to prepare Nigerian athletes for the London 2012 Olympics.Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Abuja at the 2012 budget defence by the NSC, chairman of the committee, Godfrey Ali Gaiya, noted that the House could not go on with the NSC budget defence because it still had some areas the commission was required to give explanation during the 2011 budget appraisal that has not been done by the commission.Gaiya regretted that the commission by-passed the House in directly asking the presidency to approve fund for it to prepare Team Nigeria for the London Games, stressing that the move was completely against the rule of the commission.'We frowned at this, speaker after speaker. You cannot begin to withdraw money that has not been appropriated,' he said. 'Also, you cannot withdraw money from a budget that has not been passed by law, we condemn this in absolute terms.'Olympics holds every four years. We cannot begin preparation for the Games only at the Olympics year. Under a thorough management, the Olympics year should only be for the conclusion of accommodation for athletes and officials as every other thing about preparation must have been completed with qualifying trials.'The committee chairman also explained that the entire House Committee on Sports expressed shock at the release of the fund even when it revealed that the commission applied for and got the release of about N800 million in December 2011, only to seek for the release of another N350 million from the presidency in early January.He said the committee would ensure that the commission explained in details how and what the earlier released sum was expended on before it would seek the release of the Olympics training fund.'Ideally, an Olympics budget has two components. Nobody should be talking of preparation of athletes at this time of the Games. The preparation should have begun from the end of the last Games,' he noted.
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