NSF: Athletes protest ‘no show’ .Blame sports ministry, Cross River govt.
Nigerian athletes staged a protest at the National Stadium, Surulere yesterday, to express their displeasure with the Sports Ministry and the Cross River State government’s failure to organise the National Sports Festival for the past four years.
The Festival, which was initially slated for Cross River state, had suffered postponements as a result of claims that the state could not afford to host the event as earlier promised by them.
Most of the athletes carried different placards at the stadium, with different inscriptions such as: ‘Honorable Minister please do the needful’, ‘we want the National Sports Festival next year’, ‘Sports is a means of survival, don’t kill it’, ‘Don’t send us back to the streets’, ‘Host the National Sports Festival now’ and many more.
One of the athletes, Alex Adewale, who spoke with NationSport, said that the failure to host the event could breed more criminals in the society.
He said: “If people are involved in sports, crime will reduce, there will be nothing like
Boko Haram, I want sports minister to know this is an avenue for some people to enrich their lives, to make daily bread, to feed their family. For the past 5 years we haven’t heard anything about the sports festival, we want to know what is happening to our sports, we want the ministry to tell us so that we will know where we belong to” said Adewale.
Meanwhile, it has been alleged that with the new dispensation, the National Sports Festival had been in limbo. In the same vein, the state is owing athletes who participated in the 2014 edition of the Obudu International Mountain race prize monies which might result in sanctions from the World Mountain Race Organisation.
However, the Minister for Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung stated in a chat with NationSport, that a committee will sit next year to determine when the festival will hold.”
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