Officials of the Delta Queens Football Club have cried out over the alleged embezzlement of their allowances and other entitlements.
According to them, the entitlements are for the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League for West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B Qualifier in Benin City, Edo State.
SaharaReporters gathered that the officials and players who arrived at camp on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, played in the final on Thursday, August 30, 2023, meaning they spent 16 days in camp in Benin City, the Edo State capital for the WAFU Zone B Qualifier.
However, instead of being paid all their allowances and other entitlements, the officials were only paid allowances for one day, salaries for July and August, and N60,000 for three match bonuses.
SaharaReporters, however, learnt that the players had been paid.
Speaking to SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, one of the female players unhappy with the way and manner the officials of the club were being treated by some officials of the Delta State Government, called for the immediate intervention of the state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori to avoid what she called another diversion of funds meant for the club officials.
Also, according to an official of the club who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized, the state sports commission’s chairman, Tony Okowa had paid the players before the governor’s approval came.
The source said, “But now that the approval has come, why is he along with his group still delaying the officials’ payment? Besides the shortage, from a very reliable top government source, Governor Oborevwori approved a minimum of $100 daily each as an allowance for officials.
“The chairman of the sports commission, former governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s younger brother however unofficially said that each official would get at least $1,000 for ten days’ payment as against the 16 days spent at the camp, which again was short of the approved sum for the 16 days.”
Lamenting the situation and what he called “fraud and embezzlement”, the Delta Queens official, said, “The heartbreaking situation now is that the CEO, Henrietta Ehiabor, says we the officials should just relax and payment will be made by Thursday, the day the finals will be played and that the officials will get nothing less than $400 payment for just four days, from the official 16 days which Governor Oborevwori approved for us the officials.
“What does Henrietta plan to do with the cut of the 12 days – $1,200 dollars each, if she succeeds in paying to officials just $400 each as she plans?
“This is where we seriously need the attention of the Delta State government to wade in as the CEO of Delta Queens and her cohorts are about to defraud us and cause a serious embarrassment to your barely three-month-old administration.
“Rivers and Bayelsa states previously represented Nigeria and each team member, official, and player got their complete payment for the number of days they spent. Why would Delta State be different even when approval has been made? We are using this medium to call on Governor Sheriff Oborevwori to immediately come to our aid so that our entitlements would not be diverted after the competition.”
However, an official of the state sports commission who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not directed to speak on the issue, defended the commission’s chairman.
“Delta Queens have been paid up to date, I can confirm. For the officials, approval came yesterday. Up till now, the cheque has not materialised. Once money comes, I know all of them will get their money. Officials have been told they will get it all once the money comes. As I am talking to you, they have been paid for 15 days – August salaries and bonus,” the source told SaharaReporters.
When contacted, Delta State Sports Commission Chairman, Tony Okowa, denied the allegations, saying, “Everybody has been duly paid, nobody is owing anybody. Please don’t ever call me again. Where are you getting your information from? Please, respect yourself; don’t call me again.”
As at the time of filing this report, SaharaReporters gathered that no dime had been received by the club officials as against claims by the commission’s officials.