The federal government has insisted that activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in the state of Edo continue unhindered.
The federal government reacted after a threat from the local organizing committee that the festival would end on Thursday at 12 noon due to lack of funds.
But in a statement by Ramon Balogun, assistant press director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the federal government said it was unaware of any threat from the state of Edo by canceling the sports festival.
He also called on the local organizing committee to formally invite the ministry to a meeting if there is any urgency regarding the festival.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going as planned, and the competitions are going according to schedule,” the statement said.
“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are not aware of any plans or threats by the Edo government to shut down the sports festival, because there was no official meeting or communication that conveyed such information.
“The Honorary Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on the ground in Benin City where the Festival is being held, and the Edo government is expected to officially invite the Ministry to a meeting if there is urgency around the National Sports Festival or officially communicate with the Main Organizing Committee. The Ministry does not have such communication.
“For records, the Edo state government has requested financial assistance from the federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports because of the cost implications of the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In a statement Wednesday, Musa Ebomhiana, Edo 2020 project manager for media and publicity, warned that sporting events would be suspended due to the federal government’s refusal to provide funds to the state.
“The local organizing committee of Edo2020 regrets that it will abruptly stop the games tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021, due to lack of funds,” the statement reads.
“Leaving the emergency meeting tonight, the LOC says that it must make this difficult decision due to the lack of funds that have spent their reserves to start the matches.
“Unfortunately, FG has yet to redeem its conspiracy to financially support us for the price of delay. So, we have no choice but to finish the games at noon tomorrow. ”