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Queen’s Baton Relay To Visit Nigeria

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Joel Ajayi

As member nations prepare for the Common Wealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay, an iconic event has started with a special event at Buckingham Palace in London as part of the city’s Commonwealth Day festivities.

The Queen’s Baton Relay which is similar to the Olympic Torch is a relay around the world and the Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II.

Nigeria will be the third nation to receive the Queen’s Baton Relay on October 16 after which it will tour 15 other African countries before moving to Asia.

The 15 other African Countries are: Gambia (October 16), Sierra Leone (October 23), Ghana (October 26), Cameroon (October 29), Kenya (November 2), Uganda (November 5), Rwanda (November 10), Tanzania (November 13), Malawi (November 17) and Zambia (November 20).

Also, Mozambique (November 23), Mauritius (November 27), Botswana (November 30), St. Helena (December 5), South Africa (December 8), Namibia (December 14), Eswatini (December 17), Lesotho (December 20) Seychelles (December 23).

The Baton is expected to travel for 294 days, visiting all 72 nations and territories as well as connecting communities in every corner of the Commonwealth, embracing unique cultures and sharing stories while at the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in the United Kingdom from 28 July to 8 August, 2022.

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THE NIGERIA BASKETBALL FEDERATION: FACTS AND CLARIFICATIONS BY THE FMYSD

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1.On 20 August, 2018, the former Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, wrote Mr. President asking for Intervention Funding for Nigeria’s Male Basketball Team (D’Tigers) for the hosting of the FIBA African Group F World Cup qualifiers in Lagos in 2019, as well as to enable the National Men’s Basketball Team (D’Tigers) participate in four (4) programmes as qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the sum of N1,091,996,190 (One billion, Ninety-One million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Six thousand, One Hundred and Ninety naira only).

  1. In May, 2019, the FMYSD wrote the Honourable Minister of Finance a reminder on the payment of the outstanding N1,091,996,190 to the Male Basketball Team.
  2. In August, 2019, the Federal Ministry of Finance approved the release of N1billion only to FMYSD; but charged it to the 2019 Appropriation to the Servicewide Vote for International Sporting Competitions of the FMYSD, which meant that the N1b intervention was to be taken from the Ministry’s 2019 budget (no longer intervention).
  3. The release of only N1billion greatly challenged expenditure on other sub-heads in the Votehead in the 2019 fiscal year as it was going to cut deep into Ministry’s other projects and programmes.
  4. As a result of this, a meeting was held between FMYSD and NBBF, at the instance of the Honourable Minister. Following the meeting held with the President of the NBBF, it was resolved that N850million of the N1billion be released to the NBBF, so as not to impact negatively on the other programmes of the Ministry, while the balance was expended on other sub-head items of the Votehead of the Ministry from which budget the money was taken.
  5. Following the decisions reached at the above referenced meeting, FMYSD released the sum of N850million to NBBF in August, 2019. By this development, there was still some outstanding to the Federation.
  6. Having sorted out the outstanding debts to the Male Team to a large extent, on 3rd September, 2019, the Honourable Minister wrote Mr. President requesting for the outstanding allowances of the Female Basketball Team (D’ Tigress). These included the 2017 and 2019 Afro Basketball Championships as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers. In the letter, FMYSD acknowledged the earlier release of N1billion for the Men’s Team and also requested for the approval of the sum of N1,626,985,496, to offset the above-stated liabilities to the Women’s Team and their Olympic qualifications. This request was informed by the 19 August, 2019 letter from NBBF detailing the liabilities due to the D’Tigress, which was to the tune of N1,675,402,600 for the Women Basketball Team’s for preparation and participation in the 2017 and 2019 Afro Basketball Championships, 2018 FIBA Women World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  7. Recall that on 14 October, 2019, The Presidency requested the Minister of Finance to review submission made by the Ministry. This necessitated a meeting between both Ministries on 16 December, 2019 over the requested N1,626,985,496 for the Female Basketball Team. In May 2021, the Ministry of Finance released the sum of 744 millon directly to NBBF as intervention fund from the N1,626,985,496 requested for the female basket team.

NOTES:
i.The release of N850million to NBBF for the Male Basketball Team was based on the initial request by the former Minister of Youth and Sports Development Solomon Dalung on 20 August, 2018. The release of N1billion was for the Male Team and not the Female Team, as being alleged. There is no N1billion that is missing or escrowed in any account as is being peddled. A full account of the N1billion released is well documented.
ii.The release of N744million by the Federal Government directly to NBBF as part of the outstanding N1,626,985,496 for the Female Basketball Team sometime in May 2021.This release is also well documented.
iii.The release of funds and support for Youth and Sports Development
initiatives are often prioritized as funds become available by the Federal Government.

FEAD. FMYSD

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