Minister of Youth and Sports development, Sunday Dare has insisted that there is no indefinite postponement of the proposed 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) billed for Benin, Edo State.
Dare, who spoke at the one-day seminar organised by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), FCT chapter, yesterday, said a new date for the Games would be agreed on between the Ministry and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
This is the second time the event is being postponed by the federal government after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The minister attributed the latest postponement of the ‘Nigerian Olympics’ to recent #EndsSAR protest and security challenge in Edo State with the COVID-19 protocols.
“The COVID-19 infrastructure, because we have to test everyone who is coming for the games, also looking at the fallout of the #EndSAR protests, with the experience in Lagos and Benin on what it has created in terms of security.”
“They also came up with the COVID-19 because we are not dealing with less than 200 people. We are going to deal with over 8000 to 10,000 participants. In looking at that number, PTF came with a letter saying that less than 10 days will not be sufficient to get full COVID-19 compliance for the Games.”
“I know what it means to hold the games for our sportsmen and women. We are working with the PTF and Ministry of Health to get new dates for the game, knowing that the Olympics is right upon us,” he said.
Also speaking at the seminar, president of Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Engr Musa Nimrod, stressed the need for the government to build community sports centers across the country towards making of future champions.
“We need to build community sports centers in all the states in other to discover and make future champions in the country.”
On his part, FCT Football Association chairman, Alhaji Adam Mohammed Mouktar, noted that traditional sports must move with current trends with the use of technology to achieve maximum productivity.
“The use of technology through data has been proved to enhance the performance of athletes which is capable of attracting sponsorship. We have set up a pressure group who will focus on protecting sports facilities across the country,” he said.