By Pamela Eboh
Former Director in the Nigeria Ministry of Sports, Dr Ademola Are has dismissed reports of poor state of hostel accommodations for the athletes competing at the 7th National Youth Games holding in Asaba, Delta State as lies.
Presenting a pictorial evidence of the current state of their accommodations to buttress his claims during a press conference in Asaba on Monday, Are said that the pictures flying on social media was the state of the hostels before it was refurbished for the tournament.
He said, “From the begining of this Youth Games, we actually earmarked some notable institutions for it, precisely, every location for the Games must be within thirty kilometers radius so that nobody is away too far from their various venues.
“During preparations we were able to earmark Osadebe University, Infant Jesus and Academy Technical College. These are notable schools with good environment, facilities, bunk beds and and they are expected to take care of over 5000 athletes and officials.
“However, due to the postpoment of the Games most of these institution had to call back their students and as at time the Games was going to take place they were already doing their exams and we cannot drive them out to go back home without doing their exams. Because of this the governor gave approval that we should just go ahead and make use of all the public schools available.
“Some of them have the double bunk, some did not have. So, we needed to put things on the floor, and the Ministry was adequately informed of this situation.
“We did all this to ensure that those that came in first were given priority, getting their necessary accommodation.
“Osadebe University was expected to take care of 2500 Athletes and officials, Infant Jesus was expected to take care of 1500, and Technical College almost 200. This might not be adequate because of the shortages we envisaged due to the presence of the students in the schools.
“We need to look for alternatives, and these alternatives were not boarding schools, so we have to make arrangements, put in mobile toilets, provide makeshift bathrooms to ensure that the children are adequately accommodated. As at today that I am talking to you, this has been done
“The pictures that are been circulated were the one taken at the earlier stage when we were still struggling to ensure that we house everybody,”
Are who is the project officer for hostel accommodation at the ongoing National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State further said that Delta government should not be vilified for some very minor challenges and teething experienced, but should rather be appreciated and encouraged for their contribution to sports development in Nigeria.