200 Pupils Stranded As Sports Ministry, Council Fight Over Stadium
Published: March 17, 2016
200 Pupils Stranded As Sports Ministry, Council Fight Over StadiumAt least 200 pupils of Maama Christian Academy, Lokoja attending their 2016 Inter House Sports competition were left stranded following interruption from an administrative clash over the Kogi Confluence Stadium on Thursday.

The pupils between ages 7-13 had thronged the 25,000 seater capacity sporting arena to observe their annual sporting event were frustrated out due to the long standing imbroglio between the sports ministry and sports council under its watch.

Our correspondent who witnessed the incident began at about 10am when the officials of the Sports Council led by its director Alhaji Haddy Oputu stopped the event and ordered the pupils out of the stadium.

His orders followed claims that the Sports Council had no pre-knowledge of their permit to use the sports facilities.

Despite notice that the management of the school had paid a sum of N30, 000 to use the stadium, the sports director insisted on ejecting the pupils.

It gathered that the action of the sports council officials were in protest against the sports ministry over the protracted cold war over the management of the stadium over proceeds collected from usage of the stadium without their knowledge.

The awful scene which elicited some mild fracas lasted for nearly an hour as spectators berated the inaction of the Sports council officials and negative memories created in the minds of the pupils.

It is recalled that the officials of the Sports councils who are the technical department of the Sports Ministry have long protested its highhandedness and financial recklessness in the management of the stadium.

It is understood that the Sports council were recently transferred to the stadium premises and had claimed they had the administrative rights to manage the complex.

The recent incident that broke the camel’s back was the huge sum of N250,000 purportedly collected by the Sports ministry for the staging of a three day church programme inside the main bowl early March.

The Sports council had complained that the event left the playing turf in a bad state with deposition of pins and burden of maintenance bore after the usage of the stadium.

However, the Inter House Sports was only continued after the frustrated management of the school had to pay the adamant Sports council officials unconfirmed extra fees.

Meanwhile, sports analysts have urged the state government to step in and resolve the administrative matter between the ministry and its sports council before it escalates and attract bad image for the state.

Igho Kingsley

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