Abuja - The minister of sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has blamed the inability of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to pay the salary arrears of Super Eagles’ coach Stephen Keshi on "system problems."
Abdullahi told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja that the ministry and the NFF were however working towards resolving the issues which caused the delay in the payment of the salaries.
The minister, who is also the chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), also blamed Keshi for speaking to the media on the issue.
He said Keshi should have given his employers enough time to resolve the matter, instead of taking it to the media.
"If NFF is having problems paying Keshi’s salary, it means that the system has a problem and that system has to be addressed.
``It is unfortunate that Keshi has to bring out the issue of his salary and make it a media issue, because it is something that can be addressed internally,’’ Abdullahi said.
He revealed that the NSC had already waded into the matter, saying the issue should not have been brought into the public glare.
``We are taking the right steps to support the NFF to meet this obligation. But, for me, it is not something that is supposed to be a media issue.
``However, do you boycott working or call a press conference because somebody is owing you salary?
``When you get a job you do it and you don’t go about embarrassing your employers because your salary is delayed,’’ Abdullahi said.
The minister, however, assured that the National Sports Commission (NSC) would do all that was necessary to resolve the matter.
``Keshi is entitled to his wages. He is a great coach and has done a very good job. But the issues of his salary could have been settled between him and his employers.
``If his employers have problems that they cannot pay, then they will come to us.
``If we are not able to help, then, we go to the higher authorities and tell them that we have a problem,’’ Abdullahi said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Keshi is being owed about N35 million in salary arrears by the NFF.
The NFF had at different occasions claimed it reduced the debt, but it had also failed to say how much it had been able to pay to Keshi who is on a monthly salary of N5 million.
NAN recalls that Keshi had on October 23 told newsmen that the seven-month salaries being owed him by the NFF was "the lowest point’’ of his coaching career.
Aminu Maigari, the NFF chairman, had recently said that the debt was because the association was cash-strapped.