By Debo Oshundun
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, says the National Stadium pitch in Surulere, Lagos, will be ready for use as from May 2021.
Dare told newsmen in Lagos on Friday that contractors handling renovation of the pitch and tracks had assured the ministry of early completion of the renovation works on the main bowl pitch and tracks as scheduled.
“Under the Adopt-a-Pitch Initiative, the ministry was able to get high-end corporate organisation and individuals to take up the rehabilitation of strategic sporting infrastructure and facilities.
”The ministry was able to collaborate with Sir Kessington Adebutu to rehabilitate the football pitch, athletic tracks and electronic scoreboards of the National Stadium, Lagos.
“Dangote Industry adopted the main pitch of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, and undertook to rehabilitate the football pitch and electronic scoreboards.
”Funding for the intervention is more than one million dollars,” he said.
The minister said the ministry was able to facilitate the direct adoption of sports men and women through the Adopt-an-Athlete initiative to finance expenses toward the Tokyo Olympics.
”Five athletes have been fully adopted, while 12 more are on the path to full adoption, giving a total of 17.
”Forty-five others are waiting for adoption,” Dare said.
He said that the ministry had inaugurated a cross-sectoral task force mandated to return the National Stadium to its original master plan through auditing of facilities at the stadium.
The minister said that concession process of the national stadia in Lagos and Abuja had finally commenced.
Dare said that the ministry, in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, was able to complete draft sports industry policy.
”The ministry facilitated the Federal Executive Council’s approval that reclassified sports as a business instead of recreation,” he said.
On youths development, the minister said the ministry had secured approval of the Federal Executive Council for the creation of N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).
“The ministry launched the digital app and pocket-size version of the Nigeria Youth Policy.
“The ministry also initiated strategic capacity funding and Coding for Employment trading with AfDB on DEEL Programme.
“We also developed a 60-day App Challenge to help youths develop business modelling that rely on digital technology for their operations.
“The ministry collaborated with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to secure AGSMEIS-Agricultural loan for youth-owned SMEs,” he said.
Dare said that as direct impact of the youth development initiative, the ministry was now a certified CBN/NIRSAL training partner.
“We are working through Citizen and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC) to provide online leadership training for Nigerian youth.
“No fewer than five thousand youths turned in for the two days seminar. Online courses are available through CLTC to website,” he said.
Dare said that the ministry also launched the Nigeria Youth Against Rape Campaign with four million Nigerian youths standing with FMYSD against rape.
“FMYSD trained 15,000 youths on digital skill in collaboration with IBM through its Digital Youth Nigeria Initiative,” Dare said. (NAN)