A civil rights organization, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has planned to drag the Minister for Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung before the various anti-graft agencies alleging that he (Dalung) has criminally diverted the sum of N7.2b in his ministry.
According to the group, the money was the sum approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to the ministry for the promotion of a world boxing championship bout involving, a former world cruiserweight champion, Mr. Bashiru Ali popularly known as Bash Ali.
In a statement issued in Lagos by the Executive Chairman of CHRSJ, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman on Saturday, Dalung has diverted the money which he (Sulaiman) stated was meant for the promotion of the bout which is expected to pitched Ali, against one of the ten opponents that have been slated to fight him in a World Record Breaking event slated for Nigeria in January, 2019.
According to Sulaiman, the event as planned is expected to involve boxers from over 39 countries, saying it (the event) if carried out would have put the country in the world’s sporting map.
The activist who is also the Convener of Save Lagos Group (SLG) raised the alarm on Saturday shortly after a meeting with members of the Bash Ali Fans Club of Nigeria (BAFCON) at Isolo, a suburb of Lagos on Saturday said, the need to drag the minister before the anti-graft bodies was necessitated by the seeming lukewarm attitude the minister has continued to displayed to the presidential directive to organize the event.
The activist who was also named ‘The Fundamental Rights Adviser’ of BAFCON by members of the club further accused Dalung of subjecting Ali to untold embarrassment, physical torture and abusive tirades whenever the former boxing champion tries to make him act as directed.
“We have been reliably informed that the current Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung has been sitting on the sum of N7.2b being the funds that have been approved (on two occasions) by President Muhammadu Buhari for the staging of a Guinness Book of Records world boxing event in January, 2019 in Nigeria.
“We are raising the alarm to all Nigerians because what we see on ground does not in any way show that the minister is ready to obey the presidential directive but rather, Mr. Dalung has been making efforts to frustrate the directive, a development we see as sheer sabotage of an express directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.” He said.
Commenting further, Sulaiman stated that information reaching the group indicated that the minister has not been living up to the expectations of sportsmen and women in the country by not ensuring that issues bordering on their welfare are giving top priority as the principal official who supervises the ministry.
“It is no gainsaying the fact that the activities of Dalung and other officials in the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports are very injurious to the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari. We have received so many complaints from various athletes complaining of outright neglect and gross diversion of public funds meant for their welfare and career advancement.” Sulaiman stated.
He stated that the group has given the minister an ultimatum that is expected to lapse on the 15th of November to kick start all the processes that would lead to staging the event in the country as scheduled or risk being dragged before the anti-graft bodies.
“We are using this medium to urge the minister to commence the implementation of the presidential directive. We are also calling on him to release the approved funds to the relevant bodies and authorities saddled with the task of organizing the event in January as scheduled. If he (Dalung) fails to act, we will not hesitate to petition the EFCC, SFU, ICPC and any other agency for proper investigation.” He concluded.