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Sports can tackle insecurity problem in Nigeria, says Adelabu

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Former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu has advised government at state and federal levels to use sports as a means of fighting the insecurity problem in the country.

Adelabu, who played club football with the IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, told The Guardian yesterday that the rate at which youths were converting to crime was a direct proportion to the way Nigeria was declining in sports development.

“A lot of people will wonder what is the correlation between sport and insecurity in Nigeria,” Adelabu said. “Sport is anything that stimulates people’s interest to explore their environment with the resultant benefits to their health.

“If you go around the country today, you will be shocked at the rate of proliferation of the so called “sport and bars.” What has sport got to do with alcohol? There are numerous youths in the betting houses wasting away their time all in the name of satisfying their appetite for sport.

“It was not as bad before, but just because of our short sightedness to prepare sufficient platforms for sport participation for the growing population, the youths now participate in crimes like sport. They live under the influence of alcohol, which affects their behaviour,” he stated.

Adelabu, who was one of those that made school football to thrive in his school days, recalled a recent incident in Lagos. “I am not surprised that when the people wanted to gather for the so called protest on August 5, they chose the National Stadium as the assembly point because it has lost the purpose for which it was built. We have had so many sports ministers, who did not see the need to revive the National Stadium because our football has lost its birthright to the English Premiership.

“Most of our administrators are present here in the body, but their hearts are in the Premiership. The money collected at the entrance of the National Stadium is for what?

“It is alarming to know that most of our tertiary institutions’ games are marred by hooliganism because of the various atrocities committed through hiring of machineries to represent the universities under fake registration as students. This is how so many of our students were indoctrinated to commit crimes because of the mix multitude. I don’t know how a responsible organization will continue to sponsor a competition that is full of violence without quality control mechanism and proper appraisal of the objectives of the competition.”

Adelabu continues: “In those days, we used to have Army and Police soccer teams, and I know a lot of them in athletics. But today, many of them are filling the void in their lives by committing crime. I have written an article on the level of readiness of our Police and the military for combat. Much of the frustration demonstrated by these people, which predispose them to irrational anger that often lead to shooting ordinary danfo driver over N50 (fifty Naira bribe), is due to lack of physical and mental fitness to tame their behaviour.

“One of the advantages of sport fitness is to help you bridge the gap between your character flaws and professional conduct.
We can use sport participation as an agent of curbing our security problems in the nation. We need massive campaign to engage the youths to develop their creative ability and skills in healthy competitive atmosphere. The government has to ensure that all the kidnappers, armed robbers and cult members arrested are allowed to tell the security agencies how they got to where they are, so that we can know their motivating factors for committing crimes.

“The government cannot be paying salaries and funding competitions if they cannot see the impact of sport participation on the youths. How can we have primary and secondary schools without sport grounds? What measures are we taking to ensure that our youths are adequately monitored to develop the right attitude to life. All these attributes can be developed through comprehensive programmes targeted at tackling the insecurity problems in the nation,” Adelabu stated.

He revealed that insecurity was in the state of the minds of the perpetrators. “Sport as an agent of change can infiltrate their minds to help them develop the skills that will override their weaknesses to build their confidence as responsible citizens.

“Most importantly, we need to make a better use of our Youth Corps members for combat readiness. They must undergo about six months military training in arm to combat and have ability to disarm attackers with weapons. All the successful members will be enlisted as reservists and must attend physical fitness and tactical training specially organised for a week every quarter in whatever state they go back to after their Youth Corp programme.

“They don’t have to carry guns, but pepper spray and other defensive warfare equipment. No matter their profession. They don’t have to go about in uniforms. But they must be ready for combat at any time they are needed. The glory of the youths is their strength. We need to help them maximize the use of their potential so that they will not engage in crimes as sport,” Adelabu stated.


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