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Ministry sets up 11-man committee for National Sports Festival’s new date

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The Sports Ministry has set up an 11-man committee to look at a new possible date this year for the National Sports Festival, which was postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite some divergent views by some members at the National Council of Sports’ virtual meeting yesterday, the consensus was that the competition should be held in Benin this year, the ministry said in a statement.

The 11-man committee is made up of members of the COVID-19 Task Force, NCDC, Commissioners of Sports from the six geo-political zones of the country and representatives of the Sports Ministry.

Speaking during the virtual meeting chaired by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, contributors said although the COVID-19 pandemic was a source of concern, the Festival could go ahead if certain measures were put in place.

Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Comrade Philip Shaibu, said, “We are ready to host the Festival, but other states may not be ready. The issue of health is something that we all take seriously.

“Isolation centres have been further expanded to bigger capacity. We have set up many testing centres that would screen athletes before and after games.”

On his part, the minister said, “after months of uncertainty, we need to chart a new course for our sports, just like it is being done globally. Our final decision will be based on consultations with the Ministry of Health and the National Task Force on COVID-19.”

In his view, a representative of the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Paul Bassey, said, “A health committee should be set up to work with the NCDC and the Ministry of Health to determine the possibility of the Festival taking place.” While some members said the Festival should hold before the Edo State election, others said it should be held after the election.


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