The Federal Government has pledged to ensure regular maintenance of stadia across the country, in line with global best practices.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare made the pledge on Friday in Abuja, at the formal handover of the renovated main bowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development by the contractor.
It would be recalled that Dangote Industries Group had in August 2020 engaged Aron Nigeria Ltd. for the renovation of the pitch, under the “Adopt a Pitch” initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Dare said that the completion of the re-grassing of the pitch and installation of digital score-boards, after some initial hiccups, would, indeed, signal the return of international matches to the stadium.
He said that as part of efforts to ensure adequate maintenance, the Dangote Group had made a commitment towards the maintenance of the pitch for the next two years.
“By the words of the experts here and those that have toured the facility, we have the latest grass here – Paspalum grass — one of the best when we talk about football pitches across the World.
“Something exactly similar to what we have in Qatar, that will be used for the World Cup next year.
“We thank Alhaji Aliko Dangote for opening his doors to us, and accepting to adopt the Moshood Abiola Stadium when we came up with our ‘Adopt-a-Pitch’ proposal.
“We salute his commitment that culminated in the completion of the project today, inclusive of maintenance for at least two years,” Dare said.
Besides, the minister said that work was also going round the clock to ensure the timely completion of rehabilitation works at the National Stadium, Surulere Lagos.
He gave assurance that the Federal Government would continue to work with the private sector to build and maintain sporting facilities in the country.
Earlier, Mansur Ahmed, Executive Director, Stakeholder Management and Corporate Communications, Dangote Industries Group, said that the project was part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
He said that the vision of Alhaji Aliko Dangote had been on partnering with government to upgrade sporting facilities to international standards, in a bid to engage and arrest youth restiveness in the country.
“As we all know, Nigerian players are international but until now, we don’t have an international standard facility and our commitment is to work with the ministry to make sure that this particular facility remains of international standard,” Ahmed said.
The occasion was witnessed by dignitaries such the Permanent Secretary of the sports ministry, Ismaila Abubakar, ex-international Daniel Amokachi, politicians and members of the corporate world.