By Obinna Unaeze
Minna – The Niger government on Thursday said that it has began investigation into the ‘missing’ 10 million Naira 2017 Aiteo Cup prize money won by Niger Tornadoes FC.
Mr Emmanuel Babur, the state commissioner for Sports Development made this known during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna.
NAN reports that Niger Tornadoes FC won the cash prize money of 10 million Naira for finishing as runners-up of the Aiteo Cup.
Akwa United defeated Niger Tornadoes FC 3-2 in penalty kick on Oct. 15, 2017 during the finals of the 2017 AITEO Cup at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
NAN reports that Akwa United got N25 million for winning the cup.
Babur said that government could not sit down and watch the drama surrounding the 2017 AITEO N10 million price belonging to the state owned football club.
He explained that government has the right to investigate the issue because the club was fully sponsored by government.
“We are worried because the money has not entered management’s account or the state government account.
“We have contacted the League Management Company and AITEO, sponsor of the league and they confirmed to us that the N10 million was paid to Niger Tornadoes.
“They even showed us acknowledgement receipt on how the money was received.
“After that we invited the current management of the club over the issue and they told us that they never received such money.
“We went further to scrutinise the clubs account and no such money was credited,’’ he said.
The commissioner also said that the Ministry has invited the state FA to come and explain the issue.
“Our searchlight now is on the state FA, we have invited the vice chairman to come and give explanation on the issue. We want to know whether they collected it,’’ he said.
When contacted on the issue, Mr Yabagi Baba, vice chairman, state FA told NAN that the body never received such money, adding that government should approach the central organiser of the AITEO Cup for the money.
NAN also reports that Alhaji Mustapha Gawu, the club’s chairman in an interview on July 5, called on the NFF, AITEO and League Management Company (LMC) to pay the money.
Gawu said there was uncertainty on the issue as he was reliably informed that Akwa United has since been paid their N25 million price for winning the cup.
Also, Aliko Mustaph, captain of the club told NAN on July 5 that the players were not happy over the issue alleging that the money has been paid to management but they have refused to pay the players.