Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) got a directive last week from the office of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to vacate their rented apartment in Surulere Lagos.
The directive is one among the several other directives contained in the 3 page letter dated January 14th, 2020 and signed by Clement Odile on behalf of the Sports Minister.
Paragraph 4 (iii) of the letter which may not go down well with the leadership of the Rugby Federation reads:
“The NRFF office should immediately be relocated from its present rented apartment at No 8 Ayinde Giwa Crescent, Surulere back to the National Stadium, Lagos, which is the office recognized by the Federal Government”.
The letter further stated that pending when this directive amongst others is obeyed; the President Mr. Kelechukwu Mbagwu and the Acting Technical Director are banned from attending further programmes of the Sports Ministry
In the bid to further uncover details about the apartment and the financial implications of renting an apartment for Rugby Federation outside the designated secretariat allocated to the Federation by the Ministry, Sports intelligence went into investigation.
Upon arrival at the said apartment rented by Rugby in Surulere, Sports Intelligence discovered that the Rugby Federation rented apartment is located at “No 18” Ayinde Giwa and not “No 8” Ayinde Giwa as the directive has.
A source within the neigbourhood who spoke to us on grounds of anonymity revealed that the real owners of the building which Rugby rented are not based in the country. But Rugby Federation had been using the apartment for about five years now.
Furthermore, the source disclosed that Rugby Federation had been funding the rent of the apartment from grants received as support for the game of Rugby from international organizations, and it looks as if their rent is still running before the directive came from the Sports Ministry.
According to the source, it disclosed that the rent for the said apartment is N5million per annum. If Rugby Federation has been using the apartment for five years, it means that must have gulped the federation N25m.
Another source agreed with the rent, but disclosed that Rugby Federation leased the apartment for a period of five years, and will in no time be preparing to renew their lease agreement.
As at press time, efforts made by this writer on phone, to speak with the President of Rugby Federation Mr. Kelechukwu Mbagwu proved abortive, as he neither picked the calls nor returned them.
Rugby has been recently listed as one of the team Sports at the National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020.
And for a Sport seeking adequate recognition and attention, it is important for management to be financially prudent in spending to enable them channel resources towards development of the game.
It will also be recalled that the decision of the Ministry of Sports to wade in and issue the directives to Rugby Federation came, following a petition filed by the Technical Director of Rugby Mr. William Ntiense who was unjustly sacked by the President of Rugby Federation Mr. Kelechi Mbagwu on January 18, 2019.
However, the directive also ordered the reinstatement of the Technical Director Mr. Williams Ntiense while the Secretary General and Treasurer be accorded their rightful roles in the development of Rugby.