President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday October 10, declare open the 2016 Nigerian Army Sports Festival (NAFEST) which will hold at the main bowl of the National Stadium, Abuja.
The Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 16th edition of the Games, Major-Gen. John Malu, made the disclosure on Sunday in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The statement quoted Malu as saying that the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces would be the Special Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony.
“We have invited the 36 state governors and all the ministers. It is going to be high profile ceremony,” it said.
It said that the one week event would also be used by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai to mark the beginning of victory in the war against terror in Nigeria.
“If soldiers that are engaged in the fight against terror can have time to participate in sports, people are free to come to Nigeria to invest and go about their businesses peacefully.”
“That is one of the main reasons for this event. To reassure the international community that Nigeria is very safe,”the statement said.
It added that 1,760 athletes from across 6 Divisions of the Army would compete in 19 sports.
The sports include football, table tennis, tennis, chess, scrabble, taekwondo, judo, wrestling, half marathon, Tug-of-War and boxing, athletics, obstacle crossing and combat relay.
The statement added that the event was in line with the Federal Government’s decision to take sports back to the grassroots and ensure early preparation for future sporting events.
“After the event, we expect that the Nigerian Army would have produced athletes that will represent the nation at the next All Africa Games and the Olympics,” it said.
The event will end on October 15.