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Federal govt committed to African Athletics championships in Asaba – Dalung

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Dalung and sports ministry officials with members of the House Committee on Sport

The Federal government is committed to hosting and providing  a safe environment for the African Senior Athletics Championship billed for Asaba, Delta state in August next year.

Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Youth and Sports made the remark when the Local Organising Committee paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

He said other arms of security will be involved to complement efforts of the state government during the games.

“Nigeria is committed to hosting and providing a safe and secure environment to host Africa and the world and we will complement the efforts of the state government. Delta is a coastal city and therefore will require more of marine security arrangements. We will engage the Chief of Defence staff for very good complementary support,” he said.

He thanked the governor of Delta state, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa for his support to sports development in the country and called on other sports governors to emulate Delta state government.

“We have many Sports Federations and nothing stops each state Government from adopting a sport, federation or games. Delta state assisted us with the National Youth Games. Rivers state will  host the African Wrestling Championship and Bayelsa has also hosted Wrestling in the past,” he said.

Dalung stated that hosting of the African Athletics Championship in Asaba will change the economic fortunes of the state.

“Economy of Delta and Nigeria will not remain the same,’’ Dalung said. ‘We are going to host 54 countries. Tourism will be strengthened and there will be creation of employment for the youths. There will be building of networks of relationships that will be sustainable. The economy of the state and Nigeria will be strengthened through the influx of people and movement of wealth and resources from one place to the other. It may be challenging initially but it will pay to host”.

Chairman of the LOC, Chief Solomon Ogba briefed the Minister on how far the LOC has gone in its preparations.

“The state government has released N1.9b because we want to host the best games in Africa,” Ogba said.

”The Governor has given us 10 Marco Polo buses to refurbish. We have concluded arrangements with GAC Motors to give us 100 Protocol vehicles for our top dignitaries. The Governor will sponsor three people – heading transport, accommodation and accreditation – to the Commonwealth Games to understudy them and see how it’s done.

“We need 820 rooms but we have secured 1200 rooms. We have also set up a technical committee for the competition headed by the Technical committee of the federation to ensure a good outing at the Games”.

Delivery date for the CAA Games is in February, while the Games hold in August 2018.