Sports ministry denies requesting N21bn to fix national stadium

Sports ministry denies requesting N21bn to fix national stadium

Following the public outcry that was generated after it was reported that the sum of N21 billion was needed to rehabilitate the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development has denied making such requests in a statement signed by the ministry’s Director, Press & Public Relations, Mohammed Manga.

“Contrary to this report, it has become important to state clearly that the Ministry has not requested or received any such amount from the government or individual.

“The Sports and Youth Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, in an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos last week only mentioned the figure as one of the estimated amounts from the proposals received which indicates that about that sum would be needed for the complete rehabilitation and upgrade of the national edifice based on submissions made by different companies and contractors.

“The Ministry, therefore, wishes to unequivocally make this clarification for the benefit of those who may not be conversant with the due processes involved in the execution of projects by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government, thus; that no such request nor approvals have been made as it is all still at the process of review of proposals,” the statement read

It will be recalled that the minister took to his Twitter handle on Friday to give updates on the work ongoing at the sporting arena, while also mentioning the state at which he met the edifice upon his appointment into the office.

“The National Stadium Surulere, Lagos: Just the Facts. Not Fallacies,” he began.

“Upon assumption of office in 2019, I met the National Stadium in a completely run down state. Left to rot for almost 17 plus years. No renovations (or) upgrades. Illegal occupants had taken over. The Illegal occupants had distorted the original plan. We immediately set down to work at the ministry. First, the task force removed all illegal occupants and locked out miscreants. Next we sought funding from private partners as budget allocation was insufficient.

“Old, damaged and clogged up water drainage system gutted out and new ones installed. Second phase of the tartan tracks installed; awaiting the final phase, followed by lanes marking. One digital score board as originally fitted into stadium has been fully installed.”

Dare also posted pictures on his social media page showing the state at which he met it and the progress the ministry had made, while also stating that they would need about $45m to fix the stadium after the disrepair.

“This is what we met and we started work on the main bowl. Our target was to fix three of the 15 critical aspects of the Surulere stadium. The pitch, scoreboard and tartan tracks. We faced delays but we never stopped. 80 per cent of these three works have been completed.

“What is needed to fix the National Stadium Surulere after 17 plus years of neglect is in excess of 21 billion naira, about 45 million dollars, of which we have just about 500m naira from private and government funding. There is a limit to what can be fixed,” the 56-year-old wrote.