The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Tuesday in Lagos described sports as a fundamental instrument for national integration.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 20 boats donated to the Nigeria Rowing, Sailing and Canoeing Federation (NRCSF) by Mutual Benefit Assurance Plc., at the BICS Boat Club in Lekki, Lagos, Dalung said sport was one of the major elements that could be used to engage youths meaningfully.
“We are not just here to inaugurate the boats but also to launch our preparation for the Olympics. Sports are non-natural resources that can create jobs for over 40 million youths that we have in the country.
“This present government will not fail the youths of this country in sports, because we have so much for the Nigeria youths,” he said.
The minister, however, commended Mutual Benefit for donating the boats to the federation, stressing that the ministry would partner the company to move sports forward.
He also urged the federation not to relent in its effort at enhancing the development of the sports at the grassroots.
Twenty boats comprising of eight canoes, eight kayak and four slalom boats were donated to the federation.
President of NRCSF, Admiral Festus Porbeni (rtd), promised that the body would use the boats judiciously to enhance the development of the practitioners.
Porbeni urged other corporate bodies to emulate the donor in contributing to sports development at all levels. “We are glad to receive these boats and it will no doubt boost our performance in the sport”.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Mutual Benefit, Akin Ogunbiyi, said the company had contributed to sports development in various capacities.
Ogunbiyi added that promoting sport was one of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibilities. “We are happy to partner with the federation to take the sport forward in the country.
“We have not left out sports in our area of creative and value-adding influence.
“We supported the National Sports Commission toward the Youth Games in 2013, we also served as the official insurer for the 2013 Police Games but to mention a few,” he said.
President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Habu Gumel, commended the federation for their giants strides in getting sponsors for the sport.
Gumel urged the federation to take its talent-hunt programmes to every part of the country in order to discover budding athletes.
He promised that NOC would continue to give all the necessary support to the federation.