The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports is set to close down the National Stadium, Abuja from next week to ensure its proper cleaning and rehabilitation, according to an official of the ministry.
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, while speaking to reporters in Abuja said that the shut down would help them put the stadium in a proper shape for the upcoming 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF).
Reports from the News Agency of Nigeria indicated that the 2018 NSF, which is the 19th edition and was scheduled for an earlier date in 2014 is now slated for December 6 to 16, 2018.
“By the second week of November, we will close down the National Stadium and stop the usage of its facilities by the public to prepare the stadium for the festival.
“Even though we have already commenced its restructuring and cleaning, we need to shut down the place to ensure proper work,’’ the Permanent Secretary said.
So far, 17,623 athletes and officials from 36 states and the FCT had registered for the 2018 edition, according to the Permanent Secretary.
In a breakdown, he said the figure was made up of 11,673 athletes, 2,801 coaches, 2,166 team officials and 983 state delegates.
“We are on course and all necessary arrangements have been put in place ahead of the festival.
“We are constantly in talks with the Minister of the FCT, Muhammed Bello, and he has assured us that all necessary arrangements are on course,’’ Adesola said.
He added that the National Youth Service Corps camp in Kubwa would be used as hostels for some of the participating athletes.
NAN reports that the festival’s 2018 edition will feature 37 sports, as against 25 in the last edition held at Lagos in 2012.
In July, the Ministry of Youth and Sports signed a partnership agreement with Greenfield Assets Limited to rebrand, market and re-package the next five editions of the festival.