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Ministry angry with AFN’s technical director over athletes protest

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Praise Idamadudu won the women’s 200m gold for Nigeria at the African U-20 championship in Abidjan. Former AFN President Ibrahim Gusau suspend her without fair trial, but Olamide George has lifted the suspension

• Adeleye is yet to respond to our query, says official
Some top officials in the Ministry of Youths and Sports are said to be angry with the Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Sunday Adeleye, over his alleged refusal to respond to a query following a petition by 120 athletes calling for his removal as their representative on the board of AFN.

The nation’s athletics was thrown into confusion about two weeks ago when the athletes sent a petition to the sports ministry calling for the immediate removal of Adeleye as Athletes Representative on the board of AFN. The athletes’ grouse against the Technical Director was that he was not representing their interest in the AFN.

Following the petition, the sports ministry allegedly queried Adeleye, and gave him ten days to respond to issues raised by the athletes.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Adeleye has refused to answer the query, an action that is not going down well with the sports ministry.

A top official of the sports ministry was angry yesterday describing Adeleye’s action as ‘big insult’ to them.

“Sunday Adeleye is trying to prove that he is stubborn, but the time will soon come for him to realize that the AFN is under the supervision of the sports ministry. We gave him ten days to respond to a query after 120 athletes signed a petition calling for his removal, but he bluntly refused to answer it. Maybe, after the public holidays, we will re-visit his case,” the official said.

The Guardian recalled that the latest protest by the athletes against Adeleye was triggered following his alleged failure to defend a female athlete, Praise Idamadudu, who was suspended without trial by the former AFN President, Ibrahim Gusau.

The athletes felt that Adeleye, a former Police Sergeant, should have protected the athlete by persuading Gusau to invite her for questioning before the suspension was given.

There was a similar protest by the athletes against Adeleye in 2018, after he was accused of using his position as Technical Director to intimidate them rather than to protect their interest.

Idamadudu, one of the nation’s rising stars, was arbitrarily suspended by the Gusau-led board for allegedly asking for her camp allowance after representing Nigeria at the recently concluded African U18/U20 Athletics Championship in Abidjan. It was learnt that the sports ministry approved the sum of N13 million for Gusau after the trip to Abidjan.

Efforts to speak with Adeleye yesterday were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the new president of AFN, Olamide George has lifted the suspension on Praise Idamadudu, describing Gusau’s action as ‘wicked’.


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