The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has so far received about N15 billion under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, disclosed this on at the 51st edition of the State House Ministerial Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at Aso Rock.
Commenting on the Nigerian Football League, the minister described it as being on the deathbed.
Dare explained that the closing down of the Abuja head office of the League Management Company on Thursday was part of effort to salvage the nation’s football.
Persecondnews recalls that the Police had last week sealed the League Management Company in Abuja following the dissolution of the LMC by the government.
According to the Sports Minister, the dissolution of the LMC was delayed for about four months to allow for a workable solution.
“As at May 25, 2022. Mr. President approved the dissolution of the LMC and directed that the NFF should set up an Interim Management Company because of clear evidence that our league was in dire straits.
“Between May and August, we did not issue a directive because we wanted the Premier League to complete its season without any disruption. But also, during that period, the Ministry made efforts to speak with those in charge. We never got any response.
“As we sit here, our league is on its deathbed. We know the nature of our domestic league. And just yesterday (Wednesday) I got a letter from the club owners. I met with them two weeks ago. I also met with the female football leaders.
“There is a letter that came on September 1, I only got it yesterday stating clearly that they have numerous problems with the LMC running the league. Unpaid emoluments, referees are not paid, coaches are not paid.
“So, in May 2022, there was a presidential directive and as a ministry, we applied reasonable judgment and delayed that communication. But at a point when the league ended, and we saw the continuous decline of our football, we thought it was the right time to take the necessary action.
“That was what we did; there is no connection between that decision and the NFF election, it stands alone,” he said.
Dare was at the State House with some of the country’s ace athletes including world record holder, Tobi Amusan and gold medalist, Ese Brume.
Thanking the President for being supportive to the ministry, he said: “Mr. President has been extremely supportive and I know what I’m talking about. When you run a budget of N2.1 billion for the Ministry of Youth and Sports. And then you have two or three major international championships, your budget is an envelope, you can’t go beyond it.
“Each time we have to write a letter to go to Mr. President for presidential intervention and not just our ministry, other ministries and other ministers also asked for the intervention. It’s not easy to get that kind of funding.
“But each time I have approached Mr. President and in the nick of time, we have got approval for this funding and it has been a major part of our success.
On youth development, Dare disclosed that the ministry has only received N10 billion out of the N25 billion allocated for the National Youth Investment Fund.
“So far, we have disbursed loans from N250,000 to N3 million to about 31,000 youths nationwide based on the ideas they forwarded in their business proposals.
“Our youth development, of course, I can tell you off the cuff that we’ve only received N10bn out of the N25bn for the first year for the National Youth Investment Fund.
“We have been able to disburse to over 31,000 youths. Normally there’s a process. We sent out an email. You have to reply to us to say ‘thank you I accept.’ Once we don’t get feedback, we keep your name. So over 45,000 have been approved for that loan, only about 31,000 have responded.
“The funds has gone to them between N250,000 to N3 million, whatever you get is based on the idea of the business that you put forward,” Dare also said.
On cyber security, Dare said: “I think the most important thing is the research we did as a ministry. We looked at the problem of skills mismatch.
“There are jobs out there for our youth, but the degrees they have cannot fit in for those jobs. And we found out that the jobs available in cybersecurity in Africa alone is 1.5 million.
“In this country alone, more than 350,000. That is, there are organizations looking for a certified cyber security expert.
“The ministry, last month, partnered with Halogen and when we put out the call after three days, 61,000 youths applied for cyber security training.
“As we speak, we have trained about 6000, they have graduated, they will get their certification. We can’t train this 61,000 because there’s a cost implication, but we’ll take them in batches.”