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National Sports Festival not postponed indefinitely — Minister

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Mr Sunday Dare, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, says the 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) has not been postponed indefinitely.

Dare said this in Abuja at a seminar organised by FCT Sport Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) as part of activities to mark the association’s 2020 week.

The NSF which was earlier scheduled to hold from Dec. 3 to Dec.18 in Edo appeared to have been postponed till 2021, following the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 not giving approval.

Dare explained that he received a letter from the PTF, indicating that few days left to the event would not be sufficient to get full compliance to COVID-19 protocols, especially with the number of the people expected.

“The NSF has not been postponed indefinitely. We are just trying to decide a date that would be convenient for athletes and for the conditions put in place to be met.

“I am going to make a final pitch to the PTF today. We have a good case and hopefully between today and tomorrow, we hope that we will be able to get a final and definite date for the festival.

“Even if it is not Dec. 3, but something close to that date. We need to get that certainty,” he said.

The Minister, however, explained the PTF’s delay in approving the date.

“They were several considerations. The COVID-19 infrastructure, other processes including the compulsory use of masks, testing and more.

“Secondly, is the context in which we live in, the fallout of EndSars protests, the experience in Lagos and Benin and what it has created in terms of security, all these come to play.

“Remember we are not looking at 200 to 300 people, but between 8,000 to 10,000, so we need to be very careful with whatever decisions we make,” Dare added.

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