A money row could stop Nigeria's athletes from taking part internationally and this could include the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Photo: David Gray/Reuters

LAGOS  – A row over money could put at risk Nigeria’s participation in this year’s African Games in Morocco, IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), World Championships in Doha and perhaps next year’s 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

In a dramatic development, the IAAF has threatened to punish the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) over monies the world governing body says were wrongfully paid into the account of the federation since May 17, 2017.

The AFN has been given two weeks to return an overpayment of $134,000 (R1,903-million)

The IAAF mistakenly paid $150,000 (R2,130-million) into the AFN account two years ago – the amount due should have been an annual grant to member federations of $15,000 (R213 000).

The warning was delivered in a letter sent to the AFN by Jee Isram, the senior manager of the governance, member and international relations department at the IAAF.

Isman said the IAAF notified the AFN of the problem and requested that it reversed the bank transfer for the overpaid amount.

Isman claims they matter has been discussed but they have heard nothing, prompting the IAAF to threaten sanctions against Nigerian athletes with many top events on the horizon. 

Several Nigerian officials, both current and former, have urged Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in this controversy and clear the country's name, which they say has been tarnished.  

African News Agency (ANA)