The Federal Government has said that the ongoing National Sports Festival in Edo State will not be discontinued.
The Edo State Government had on Wednesday night announced that the festival will end abruptly on Thursday afternoon over lack of funds.
According to a statement released by the Coordinator of Media and Publicity for the festival, Ebomhiana Musa, the decision to end the festival was taken at an emergency meeting of the committee headed by Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.
The statement noted that the Federal Government’s failure to provide funds 24 hours to the commencement of the festival was the reason for the decision.
But in a statement on Thursday morning by the Assistant Director Press, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ramon Balogun, the festival will continue as planned.
Balogun said the ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed.
He, however, said the ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival.
The statement read, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled.
“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.
“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.
“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
“The Ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed. The MYSD and EDSG are determined to deliver a successful National Sports Festival.”