The Federal Government on Monday promised to support the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) in the building of new world class sports centre to boost sporting activities in the university.
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, made the promise when he visited Unilorin, the venue of the ongoing 4th National Youth Games in Ilorin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Unilorin had hosted the 2nd and 3rd editions of the games.
Dalung told the Vice-Chancellor of Unilorin, Prof. Suleiman Abdulkareem that the support was to enable the institution to meet the growing number of athletes participating at the games every year.
”Owing to the fact that the number of athletes keep increasing with every edition, we know that Unilorin may not be able to meet up structurally.
”In this edition, we have over 3,800 athletes compared to over 2,000 we had last year, so we know it may not be easy.
”So, we are supporting the initiative by the institution to request for funding to support improvement of the facilities.
”The facilities will not only be used for games like this, but by your students to enable you to produce healthy graduates,” Dalung said.
The minister commended the institution for hosting the games in the last three years.
”We commend the management and staff of this institution for supporting the laudable initiative of giving children the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The importance of sports cannot be overemphasized as it is the only sector with highest number of job opportunities,” Dalung said.
He added that if 10 or 30 per cent of the country’s budget was directed to sports, there would be stability in the country.
”Globally, sports have been identified as a means of conflict resolution.
”So, if we are battling with crises and conflicts in Nigeria, it is suggestive that we have not used the proper tools.
”Neglecting sports is like neglecting the future of our youths, because there is no investment suggesting that we are reforming their future for them,” Dalung said.
The minister urged the university management to introduce sporting engagements for senior members of staff.
”You need to set the pace, not only in producing academics, but healthy academics,” Dalung said.
In his remarks, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, thanked the minister for offering to help before asking.
Abdulkareem urged the Federal Government to make provisions to reward athletes that had made the country proud.
NAN reports that 20 states are participating at the games that started on Sept.7 and will end on Sept.17.