Athletes from Ekiti state to the 2018 National Sports Festival have staged a protest against alleged fraud in the N7million approved by the state government for the fiesta which kicks off tomorrow in Abuja.
The athletes accused the management of the Etiki State Sports Council (SSC) of pocketing N5 million made available by the government and declared a paltry N2 million.
The protesting athletes locked up the main gate of the Kayode Oluyemi Stadium in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, preventing people from gaining entry and chased out state officials from their offices.
One of the athletes, who craved anonymity told journalists that the negotiations on the funds to be released between state government and the ESSC have been on for sometime now.
“It started from N32 million to N19 million and they eventually agreed on N7 million but they were now telling us that only N2 million was approved by the state government.
“ We have been preparing for the sports festival which starts on Thursday, December 6, in Abuja since three months ago.
“The athletes have been engaging in open camping all the while with most of us coming from across the 16 local government areas of the state.”
Meanwhile, the general manager of Ekiti State Sports Council, Deji Samo, spoke of likelihood of the athletes being sponsored for the protest for personal interests.
Samo dismissed the athletes’ allegations, saying: “We have sent our file to the governor. We are expecting his response.
“It is when we get approval for fund that we will know how many of the athletes will go for the games. We will like to go to the competition with our medal hopefuls.”
“Because of funds, we had to put the athletes through open camp. They have been preparing. All I know is that we are going to the games in Abuja and we will make the state proud”.
About 150 athletes were earlier scheduled to represent the state at sports festival but the said money would not be enough to cater for 30 athletes.
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