Lt. Gen Buratai made the announcement when he visited the Hon Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung to officially inform him of the festival.
The Chief of Army Staff who was accompanied by members of the Central Organizing Committee for the festival thanked the minister for supporting the Nigerian Army in sports development.
“We have about 6 formations taking part in the 2016 Nigerian Army Sports festival. This is coming after a long interval due to the insecurity that the country has been facing for about 6 years. The Nigerian Army is one of the most formidable agencies in government that is keen in uplifting and developing sports among its officers and men. We will not only compete at the national level but internationally too. This will afford the country the opportunity to explore the potentials that abound in the Nigerian Army. We have enjoyed excellent relationship with your ministry and we want to appreciate the various sports councils that have been cooperating with us especially the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Olympic Committee”.
On the occasion, the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung thanked the Chief of Army Staff for his good leadership which has driven the Nigerian Army to organize a sports festival.
Barrister Dalung also noted that the Nigerian Army has played a very vital role in promoting stability, national unity and national integration adding that sports development in Nigeria has been sustained by the military and the para- military components of institutional sports.
“If you’re talking of athletes that have made Nigeria proud, their origin is from the Army, the Police, Prisons and Civil Defense, therefore you are key partners and tall stakeholders in sports development we cannot neglect. Unfortunately, hard times will not permit us to give you the desired support in terms of financial assistance but we will roll out the facilities we have at our disposal to support the 16th Nigerian Army Sports Festival”
The Minister also promised to solicit the support of other stakeholders in sports development and scouts who will be on ground to hunt for the talents that will be showcased from the 10th to the 15th of October.
” The contribution of the Nigeria Army sports festival to enriching sports development in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. We will also contribute in providing referees, judges and umpires that will enrich the profile of the games so that we can have a more credible festival where the judgement and decisions will stand the test of time. We will begin a talent hunt at the festival to build our profile for the next Olympics in 2020 therefore we will encourage you to encourage the participating personnel to give in their best”.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to grace the opening ceremony at the Abuja National Stadium.
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