The Nigerian Government has maintained that activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Edo State will continue as planned.
The federal government’s stance comes against a threat in the form of an earlier announcement by the Local Organising Committee that the festival will end abruptly at 12noon on Thursday (today) over lack of funds.
In a statement by Ramon Balogun, Assistant Director Press, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, on Thursday morning, he said the “ministry has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled.”
He continued: “The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.
“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.
“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
“The Ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed. The MYSD and EDSG are determined to deliver a successful National Sports Festival.”
ARISE News had earlier reported that the Coordinator of Media and Publicity, National Sports Festival, Ebomhiana Musa said a decision to end the competition was taken at an emergency meeting of the Local Organising Committee headed by Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.
Mr Shaibu had insisted that it was forced to take the painful decision by ending the games abruptly on Thursday due to lack of funds.
By Abel Ejikeme