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Cross River faces sanction for non-participation in National Youths Games


National-Youth-gamesThere are strong indications that Cross River State lack lustre interest in sports may soon attract sanctions from the federal government.For the past one year, the state has not taken part in any major sports events including the on-going National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Even the grassroots sports, which the state was developing under Dr. Bruce Ejerigho in the then administration of Governor Liyel Imoke has been abandoned, and youths sports is suffering.Consequently, the state risks paying a fine of N5 million to the Federal Government for falling to attend the second edition of the National Youth Games, which will end tomorrow in Ilorin.

The Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports in a letter addressed to the state government dated July 22, with reference number NSC/GRSD/CORR/YG/GEN/II/17, by Director: Grassroots Sports Development, Dr. Ademola, had invited the state for the festival stating the consequences of non-participation by any state.

The letter states: “in view of the importance of the National Youth Games to the development of our youths sports in Nigeria, and in providing an opportunity for replacing our ageing athletes, it is mandatory for all states to participate in this edition as this is the only unifying factor in the face of youths restiveness in the country.

“Any state which does not send a team will be sanctioned with a fine of Five million naira (N5,000,000) and two (2) years suspension from subsequent games.”In view of this, the state’s Sports Commission wrote a letter to the governor calling his attention to the invitation from the sports ministry.

In the letter dated August 25, 2016, with reference number GO/SC/AD/2254/VOL.3/229 which was signed by chairman of the commission, Chief Orok Duke, the governor was informed that the state would be featuring a 95-man contingent, and would require N10,932,000, to cater for the contingent to the games from September 20 to September 30”.

From all indications, the state did not send any contingent to participate in the games, and fears are rife that the federal government may sanction the state for not participating and it.It was learnt that Cross River may not even host the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) bill for Calabar this year.Commenting on the matter, the Chairman State’s Sports said: “no approval was given by the governor.” He however declined to comment further.

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