Minister of youth and sports development Sunday Dare has insisted that the ministry did not abandon former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia.
Siasia had claimed that he was abandoned by the sports ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following life ban by FIFA for alleged match-fixing. After an appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sports cut the ban to five years.
Mr Dare’s spokesman John Joshua-Akanji said in a statement on Tuesday that contrary to insinuations by Siasia that he was abandoned, the minister actually raised money for him.
“The ministry, through the Minister, was able to raise the money which Siasia personally collected while he was also connected to persons and entities who raised money to assist him in appealing his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS),” Mr Joshua-Akanji said.
“In response to concerted appeal launched by the Minister, the Governors of Lagos, Edo and Delta made available money which was handed over to Siasia at different times.
“A couple of individuals, at the instance of the Minister, also raised money which was handed to him in cash.”
He further said the minister also rallied round to ensure Siasia was given fair hearing.
“The Minister stayed on top of the case by pulling all strings to assist Siasia.
“In addition to the governors of Edo, Delta and Lagos, he (Dare) made an appeal to Gov. Kayode Fayemi who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor.
“In another instance, the Minister took Siasia on a visit to the then Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, to appeal for support for him.
“Siasia’s claim that government did nothing to assist him is untrue, deceitful, and misleading.
“While there is no budgetary provisions for such incidents, the Ministry and the Office of the Minister gave Siasia all the support that led to the mitigation of his life ban from football-related activities,” Joshua-Akanji added.