Nigeria’s Minister of sports Sunday Dare says the National Sports Stadium situated at Surulere was not constructed for business purposes.
The facility which was built and commissioned in December 1972 by then-Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon has deteriorated over the years due to poor maintenance and neglect and has become a thriving hub for myriads of businesses.
In a bid to restore sanity to the stadium, Dare in a statement through his official Twitter handle announced his inauguration of a Task Force mandated to regulate business activities at the sports facility.
Dare said the measure was part of a larger plan to concession the stadium via a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“Today, I inaugurated the Task Force on the verification of the businesses in the National Stadium Surulere. This is a first step towards the reopening of the stadium but also meant to restore some sanity to the stadium ahead of the concession.
The Task Force which has 3 weeks to complete its assignment will screen all occupants and also identify all illegal structures within the Stadium. The screening and activities of the Task Force will be done in accordance with the rule of law and will be uncompromising.
In January this year, the Ministry began the process of verification by issuing forms to all businesses within the stadium premises. [The] Task Force will afford them all to present necessary documentation as the Ministry commences the long journey to restore the Stadium.
Government’s plan to fully concession the Surulere Stadium in a PPP arrangement is ongoing, even as the Ministry seeks to commence some renovation works. It is a sporting infrastructure built by the government and not a Mall or business premises.”
The last match hosted at the stadium was in 2004. Since then, the edifice has been left untended.
The 45,000 capacity stadium formerly known as Surulere Stadium hosted the final match of the African Cup of Nations in 1980 between Nigeria and Algeria.