The Edo Government, hosts of the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Benin, will shut down the 13-day event by 12 noon Thursday, an official said late Wednesday.
Musa Ebomhiana, Project Manager with the Media and Communications Sub-Committee of the festival’s Local Organising Committee (LOC), said the decision was necessitated by Federal Government’s refusal to fulfill a promise.
He said the Federal Government failed to support the state with funds as promised, and the state government had no choice other than shutting down the festival.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this decision was taken after an emergency meeting of the festival’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) headed by the Edo Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.
“You can quote me, that we just finished from an emergency meeting of the LOC, and as I speak with you we have decided to shut down the festival by 12 noon tomorrow (Thursday).
“The decision was arrived at because the Federal Government has reneged on its promise to assist the state with funds.
“Because of that, we are closing the festival,” Ebomhiana stated.
He however did not disclosed how the LOC was going to shut down the festival.
NAN could not get the reaction of the festival organisers, the Main Organising Committee (MOC), to this development as at the time of this report.
It could not also get the reaction of the festival’s owners, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
John Joshua-Akanji, an aide of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, however responded immediately he was contacted.
The Special Assistant on Media to the minister urged NAN to get across to the MOC’s Secretary, Peter Nelson, who could however not be reached.
NAN reports that Edo had solicited financial support from the Federal Government for it to play host to the other states of the federation and the FCT.
It had hinged its demand upon the inconveniences brought about by the several postponements of the festival which was earlier billed for March 2020.
The postponements were as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rescheduled festival had commenced on April 2 to last till April 14, and if it was shut down on Thursday it would just be in its seventh day.(NAN)