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Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Deputy Gov Philip Shaibu
Hosts of the 20th National Sports Festival (NSF), Edo State, on Monday in Benin appealed to the Federal Government for a timely release of funds to enable the state do the needful.
Philip Shaibu, Edo State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the festival’s Local Organising Committee (LOC), said at a news conference that the appeal became necessary to avoid further postponement of the games.
The festival which has now been rescheduled for April 2 to April 14 has already suffered several postponements.
Shaibu noted that the state had lost a huge amount of money due to these postponements, adding that aside the challenges of funding, the state was well prepared to host the rest of the country.
Said Shaibu: “We are ready. We have always been ready. However, we incurred a huge cost over the postponements the games have suffered occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We again agreed to host in anticipation of Federal Government’s support. We are using this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to release these funds to avoid another postponement”.
Shaibu also reiterated adherence to the guidelines that had been released by the organisers of the games, poiting out that they were released after a meeting between the LOC and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Noted he: “Part of the decisions taken at the meeting was that all participating athletes must carry out COVID-19 test 72 hours before arriving in Edo on April 2 when the festival is scheduled to commence”.
Shaibu further said the athletes must have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, at least 12 days before the commencement of the festival.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the virus is not spread during the games and we are working assiduously with all stakeholders to ensure this is achieved.
“The officials of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), will be in Edo four days before the commencement of the games,” the 20th NSF LOC chairman said”.