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The federal government, through the Ministry of youth and Sports Development and the Edo State government are at loggerhead over the cancellation of the ongoing National Sports Festival in Benin City due to lack of funding.
Recall that the, Edo State government had solicited support from the federal government if they are to play host to the other states of the federation for the Nigeria Olympic Games.
On Wednesday, the Edo State government threatened to shutdown the ongoing Games by 12 noon on Thursday over refusal of the federal government to support the State with fund as promised in a statement signed by a project manager of the Media and Communication Committee for the Games, Musa Ebomhiana.
This was followed with a counter statement by the federal government in statement released by the assistant director, press, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ramon Balogun, on Thursday morning, insisted that the activities at the ongoing Edo 2020 Games’ in would continue as planned.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled.
“The Ministry and the Main Organising Committee (MOC) for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.
“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication,” .
Chairman, Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and Deputy Governor of Edo State, Phillip Shuaibu also maintained that the Games will be shut down by Noon today if commitment is not gotten from the federal government on release of funds.
He made this known while briefing the newsman at the Media Center for the Games at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City yesterday.
Shuaibu also noted that the Main Organising Committee Secretariat (MOC) will be shut down by Noon today owing to the situation.
He explained that the move was because Edo State is cash strapped as it could no longer meet its obligation to vendors such as caterers and others for the Games.
It should be noted that the the Main Organising Committee Secretariat was shut for some hours and was later reopened for day to day activities.