The money was paid to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria ©AFN

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officials claim to be confident that a missing payment of $150,000 (£106,000/€121,000) sent to Nigeria last year by mistake will be returned soon.

This sum was sent to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) last year instead of the scheduled payment of $15,000 (£10,600/€12,100) due to be awarded to national federations.

The mistake initially went unnoticed before an IAAF accountant realised and contacted the Nigerian body for a refund.

By this point, though, the money appeared to have disappeared.

Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalung has supposedly set up a committee to look into where the money has gone.

"We are pleased to see that the Nigerian Minister for Sport has launched an investigation and we understand that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is cooperating with them," an IAAF spokesperson told insidethegames.

"We hope to have the funds reimbursed shortly."

Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau was only confirmed as AFN President in July so it is possible the money was paid to a previous administration.

Some, though, have blamed Dalung himself for the problem.

"The sum of $15,000 dollars was supposed to be IAAF's annual grant to AFN, but the world's athletics body overpaid AFN by $135,000 (£95,000/€109,000), AFN Board member Rosa Collins told The Guardian Nigeria.

Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalun has set up a commission to probe the missing money ©AFN
Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalun has set up a commission to probe the missing money ©AFN

"In the absence of the AFN Board for over six months [before the elections], the Sports Ministry didn't enquire from AFN scribe how the funds in the federation's account got there. 

"The Sports Ministry waited until the media broke the news. 

"Is this not a cover up?

"Those found guilty must be dismissed and sent to jail for causing so mush anguish to athletes who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the funds."

Collins called on the IAAF to institute an inquiry and blamed the leadership of Gusau, who is also a former Nigerian Minister for Agriculture and Industries.

"If AFN has a good leadership in Shehu Gusau [who beat her to be elected President last year], these problems won't arise in the first place," she added. 

"The image of the country is at stake over this avoidable scandal."

Lagos is due to host the African Athletics Championships from August 1 to 5 this year.