President Muhammadu Buhari has again reiterated the federal government’s resolve to continuously promote sports development in Nigeria.
While speaking in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Nigeria Army Sports Festival at the main bowl of the National stadium, President Buhari said it was high time the Army took their rightful place in the sports circle.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, seized the opportunity to call on organizers of the event to use the opportunity to identify talents that will represent Nigeria in international sporting activities.
“We remain committed to ensuring that you are provided with the required resources and motivation.
“The administration is also devoted to improving sport development in the country and taking adequate steps to ensure Nigeria continue to excel at international sports tournaments” the representative of the President said while declaring open the 16th edition of NASFEST.
On his part, the Chief of Army staff, Tukur Buratai, while welcoming the guests, officials and athletes at the event said the need to improve the physical fitness of Nigerian troops and also inculcate the spirit of fair play and friendly contest was part of the key reasons for the games after 7 years absence.
He said the NASFEST is also aimed at impacting camaraderie through social interaction between officers of the Nigerian army as well as personnel.
The Army Chief explained that constant physical exercise and team work by soldiers can lead to the attainment of a professionally responsive unit capable of discharging its duties.
“We will continue to develop and promote sports in the Nigerian Army and identify talents who will represent and win laurels for the country .
“This sports festival will provide an opportunity to identify such talents,” the Army boss stated.
He concluded that the Army will leave no stone unturned in encouraging officers who are talented in sports.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, commended the leadership of the Nigerian Army for reviving NASFEST through the leadership of Mr. Buratai.
The minister used the opportunity to call on government at all levels to invest more in sports at the grassroots to help fight against crime, terrorism and other social vices in the country.
“Let me make a general appeal to governments at all levels as well as industrialists and corporate organizations to make sports development a priority by devoting more resources into development of our youth.
“Massive investment in sports development will no doubt ensure that the youth are productively engaged thereby saving the country from avoidable cycle of committing huge resources annually to the fight against terrorism”. Mr. Dalung stated.