Abuja- Ahmed Kawu, a board member of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), on Monday in Abuja denied reports in some sections of the media that he embezzled about N1 million.
The amount was part of the N5 million approved by the NFA to run the activities of the Nigeria Nationwide League (NNWL).
Kawu, who is also the chairman of the league, told NAN that the allegation was the handiwork of detractors, who did not want the development of football in the country.
The chairman said that the money was given as part payment to Vitalis Asonuka, a contractor, who furnished the secretariat of the league at the cost of N7 million.
He said that the money was to enable Asonuka embark on his journey to the United States of America where a surgery had been arranged to correct his sight.
``It all started when we were directed in a letter by Mohammed Sanusi, the NFA Director of Competition, to leave the football secretariat, an accommodation was given to us, but it was not furnished and we had no money.
``We advertised to enable us get those that can help us furnish the office. Our aim was to have a befitting office where sponsors can come and do business.
``Somebody eventually emerged and we told him that we had no money to execute the contract, but that he would be paid as soon as we get money. He furnished our office for N7 million,'' he said.
Kawu said, ``Unfortunately the man (contractor) fell sick after three months and was about losing his sight.
``He came begging us if we can give him part of his money after securing a United States visa where he was to be operated upon to enable him regain his sight.
``Since we were still waiting for the release of the N5 million approved by the FA board, I took him to the General Secretary, Musa Amadu.
``I thought that he will understand and release our money because the man deserved to be helped, but he said there was no money.
``Finally, he released N1 million to us on loan, so we decided to give it to the man, he helped us so why won’t we help him by giving him part of his money?'' he asked.
Kawu pointed out that the money was handed over to Asonuka after due consultation with board members of the lNNWLeague.
He commended the NFA board for their doggedness in changing the fortunes of football in the country, in spite of efforts by some football administrators to frustrate the development of the game because of their personal ambition.
``I have never embezzled any money since I became the Chairman of the league, and also NFA board member. In fact, the Nationwide League Board does not have enough money to run its activities not to talk of embezzlement.
``I was a Special Adviser to a former governor. I controlled huge amount of money in 2009 as chairman of the local organising committee (LOC) in Kano, for the FIFA U-20 World Championship.
``I handled about N2 billion for the upgrading of our facilities, why should I stoop so low now to squander N1 million,” Kawu said.