COVID-19: Nigeria Shuts Down All Sports Activities Indefinitely

Amaju Pinnick
Amaju Pinnick

Duro Ikhazuagbe

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development Wednesday evening suspended all sports programmes and events in the country as a precautionary move against the spread of COVID-19.

In a circular sent to all the national sports federations under its watch and signed by a Director of FEAD, Mrs Tayo Oreweme, the Sports Ministry said this development was a follow up to the postponement of the 20th National Sports Festival and the closing down of all NYSC camps.

“In the effort to further ensure safe health and wellbeing of all athletes and sports loving Nigerians at large, I am directed to inform you that all National Sports Federations should suspend the organisation and/ participation in all national and international competitions, including qualification tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” observed the statement from the ministry.

Similarly, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) announced the cessation of all forms of football activities in the country for the next four weeks, as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

According to the country’s supreme football-governing body, the shutdown affects all on-field activities the various National Teams, the Nigeria Professional Football League, the other Leagues, youth football programmes and even street football.

President of the NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick said the cessation will be for four weeks after which the situation will be reviewed in line with events and trends worldwide.

He also advised all members of the football family to observe the various safety precautions and conduct as advised by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, such as hand-washing, the use of sanitizers and social distancing.

Pinnick also stated that the only football activity that will be permitted is the work of the NFF investigation committee into the death of Chineme Martins, which was inaugurated yesterday in Benin City and will submit its report within the next 10 days.