Work on Abuja, Lagos national stadiums to begin after COVID-19 lockdown
Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare has revealed that rehabilitation of the national stadiums in Abuja and Lagos will begin once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted by the Federal Government. Dare has also explained that efforts are on to get all the mini-stadiums across the country in top shape for local and international events.
Speaking in a radio programme monitored in Lagos, Dare said the government was on the verge of completing the documentation, review and contracting process for the rehabilitation of the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added: “Remember, It is a private investment, private support from Alhaji Dangote’s company and they have to go through a lot of processes… they have to invite up to eight different contractors, visit the stadium and turn in their bill of quantity and also sit on a review board.
“The company also has to decide on the most suitable contractor to give us the best job. All of these take time, they are normal standard operating procedures.”
He enthused that the process is at the purchasing order stage, adding, however, “We cannot accelerate or force the process because we are dealing with a well respected Nigerian, who is bringing in private money without plans to recoup anything back to help maintain the national stadium.”
Dare disclosed that the ministry has received approval to concession the national stadium in Surulere, adding, “the process has been ongoing. It was delayed by the lack of transaction advisers and we have been able to overcome that. In the next couple of weeks or so, those who are interested in taking over the national stadium Surulere concession and hostel will come forth and the normal process of concession will take place.”
Dare revealed that the ministry is working on an N5 billion to N10 billion special intervention fund from the Federal Government, which, he said, would be used to identify and renovate the entire infrastructure across the country.
“We have completed the audit of all the facilities, including the mini stadiums, big stadiums, township stadiums, the indoor sports halls, the multipurpose sports halls and all training centers.
“There are 32 of them and we need government intervention to activate some of them across the country and really get the grassroots sports development started. So these are the ongoing processes, but Covid-19 has slowed us down in some ways.”
He also revealed that the ministry has approached philanthropist, Chief Keshington Adebutu, who has agreed to invest N500 million to fix the football pitch and tartan tracks of the national stadium in Surulere, adding, “We are at the point of putting up the papers and the MOU.
“The National Stadium has been abandoned for 18 years, but we believe after bringing some life back to the stadium we can now activate the full stadium.”