Ministry shifts national sports festival to January

The Edo state government has announced that it is confident and ready to host 11,500 athletes and officials at the 20th National Sports Festival that begins in Benin City on March 22.

The National Sports Festival (NSF) previously scheduled for Benin from December 3 to December 13, has been rescheduled to be held at the same location from January 3 to January 17, 2021, an official said.

The festival, labeled Edo 2020, was initially scheduled for March, but had to be postponed until December due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

John Joshua-Akanji, special media adviser to the minister for Youth and Development, told reporters in Abuja on Thursday that the decision was made after a stakeholder meeting.

“The decision was made after a virtual meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Sunday Dare,” he said.

Joshua-Akanji, however, said it was also agreed at the meeting that all COVID-19 protocols would be observed during the festival.

Journalists report that Dare had previously maintained that the festival was not postponed indefinitely.

“The NSF has not been postponed indefinitely. We are only trying to decide a date that is convenient for the athletes and that the established conditions are met, ”he said.

The minister said that he would make one last push to get the final and defined date of the festival.

Journalists report that some states, including the FCT, have been in closed camps in preparation for the festival.

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