The ongoing 20th National Sports Festival in Benin City may be halted abruptly on Thursday unless the Federal Government intervenes by releasing the funds it promised the host Edo State.
Rising from an emergency meeting late Wednesday night, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) headed by the state’s Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, insisted that it was forced to take the painful decision by ending the games abruptly on Thursday due to lack of funds.
Project Manager, Media & Communications, Edo 2020, Ebomhiana Musa confirmed last night that “the Local Organising Committee, Edo 2020 regrets to announce that it will end the games abruptly today, Thursday, April 8, 2021 for lack of funds.
“Rising from an emergency meeting this evening, the LOC says it has to take this hard decision due to lack of funds having expended its reserves to kick start the games,” observed the spokesman of the LOC Wednesday night.
He insisted that the LOC is yet to get a dime from the funds promised it by the Federal Government to host the festival.
“Regrettably, the FG is yet to redeem its pledge to support us as the host state financially for the cost of postponements.
“So, we are left with no option than to end the games at noon on Thursday, April 8, 2021,” observed the terse statement signed by the LOC spokesman shortly after its meeting.
All calls to the telephone numbers of the Special Assistant (Media) to the Sports Minister, John Joshua Akanji, were not responded to, to throw lights on the threat by Edo State to end the festival.
The Edo 2020 National Sports Festival started at the weekend but was officially declared open on Tuesday night by President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Sports, Chief Sunday Dare.
It was originally scheduled to hold March last year but suffered four postponements due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that paralyzed all sporting activities.