Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Moves to restore the dignity of the National Stadium in Lagos abandoned for over a decade has began with the inauguration of a Ministerial Task Force to drive the rehabilitations of the edifice.
Speaking at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, said the committee has a mandate to help government commence the initial steps to bring back the lost glory of the edifice.
“The National Stadium in Lagos holds a lot of fond memories for our sportsmen and sportswomen and indeed millions of Nigerians.
“Government shall no longer allow our sporting infrastructure to lie waste. President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to completing abandoned infrastructure and also maintaining the ones that have deteriorated.
“The Moshood Abiola, Ahmadu Bello and Obafemi Awolowo stadiums shall be restored and made available to serve our athletes.
“Through a robust Public and Private Partnership (PPP) model of concession and the Adopt-a-Sports Centre Initiative, these stadiums are set to enjoy some new lease of life..
“The concession process of the Athletes’ Hostel in Abuja and the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos as approved by the federal government is now on a fast track.
“Before the process is complete, we need to restore sanity to a place like the National Stadium in Surulere. So, the work of the task force is cut out.
“In the past, we had interlopers, now it is going to be fixed to serve our teeming youth. The task force will carry out its assignment according to the law of the land.”
The terms of reference of the committee include; carry out audit of approved tenants; Verify details of tenancy agreement; Come up with list of all approved and unapproved physical structures; and approved constructions; List of all squatters and their businesses; Carry out a detailed analysis of all revenue generated at the stadium and take inventory of all shops and businesses within the stadium premises.
The committee headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of You and Sports, Gabriel Aduda, is made up of 13 members drawn from the Ministry and the organized private sector and with the full compliments of security agencies.
The committee has three weeks to complete its assignment.
In January this year, the Minister directed the facilities department to issues forms to all occupants of the stadium to provide important information about their businesses and activities within the facility.
This documentation will form the major working document of the task force.