The NSC blamed journalists for athletes getting their allowances early.
The National Sports Commission, NSC, has paid Nigerian athletes at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, six days competition allowances following complaints from different quarters.
The Director-General of the commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye, who made this known in Glasgow on Tuesday, said the issue of athletes’ allowances was blown out of proportion.
The Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, on Friday ordered the immediate payment of the allowances after the athletes and officials complained of non-payment.
Mr. Elegbeleye, who is also the Chef de Mission of Team Nigeria to the Games, said that the pressure from the media necessitated the payment of the allowances, a development which, he said, went contrary to earlier plans.
He explained that the initial plan was to pay the athletes the allowances in bulk after the Games as was done in May during the 2014 African Youth Games in Gabarone, Botswana.
“It is you journalists that rushed us into paying them; we did not want to pay earlier because it will cause a lot of distractions for the athletes.
“The money is right here with us, but when you people (media) keep writing that they are suffering and that they have not been paid, then we have no option but to pay them.
“You (NAN) are in the Games Village; did you see any supermarket here? What will they use the money for? Food is free here; so why do we have to give them money now?
“We only thought of what we considered safest for them until the end of the Games,” Mr. Elegbeleye said.
The director-general said that the commission had enough money to meet the welfare needs of the athletes and officials representing the country at the competition.
Mr. Elegbeleye said that athletes, who had won medals for the country at the ongoing games so far, had been paid their allowances plus their winning bonuses at a mini ceremony organised in Glasgow to encourage other athletes.
He, however, urged the athletes to put the country first in all that they did as government had begun making plans to host them on arrival in Nigeria at the end of the competition.
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