• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Coronavirus: FG postpones National Sports Festival

National Sports Festival

Minister of sports, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday announced that the Federal Government had postponed indefinitely the National Sports Festival, tagged Edo 2020.

The Federal Government is taking the necessary precautions following the non- arrival of the basic screening facilities for the tournament, according to Dare.

Dare disclosed that they were yet to arrive for the festival for the screening of the over 11,000 athletes billed to participate at the event, few days to the commencement of the festival.

The minister stated this while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The development has the backing of President Buhari and the Edo State government, the host of the event, he said.

Dare, who was joined by the minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora said the postponement was a precautionary measure to curtail coronavirus, as the world grapples with the effects of the disease.

While lamenting the huge resources invested by the participating states and other stakeholders for the event, he noted however that the health of the Nigerian sportsmen and women was upper most in the mind of government and therefore took the decision to postpone the event.

Speaking on the postponement Mamora said, “We felt that in the overall interests of Nigeria that the festival be postponed.”

He added that the fear in the health circle was the spread of the disease even with persons without clear symptoms, stressing that social distance was desirable at the moment.

Meanwhile, the Edo State government has also announced the postponement.

In a statement, Philip Shaibu, deputy governor/chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), said, “The postponement has become necessary as a result of the shutdown of socio-economic activities in various countries across the world due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Although there is no pandemic of the disease in Nigeria and the Edo State Government is fully prepared to host the games and handle eventualities that may arise as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus and any other disease, we have decided to err on the side of caution and also show sensitivity to the plight of other countries dealing with the challenge.”

He said, “Details on the new date for the National Sports Festival will be communicated after due consultation with the relevant government agencies.”


Tony Ailemen , Abuja