With barely a week to the kickoff of the 19th National Sports Festival virtually all the thirty-Six states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory are yet to approve funds for athletes to participate in the festival as several of the States are busy with the 2019 elections.
The 19th edition of the National Sports Festival is scheduled to hold from 6th to 16th December, 2018 at the National Stadium Package B, Abuja.
Most of the states’ sports commissions/councils have slashed the number of athletes participating in the respective sports.
There are indications that some individual sports might be dropped while the team sports who qualified at their respective zonal preliminary will be reduced. The staffs of various states are proposing to prone the number of athletes partaking in sports like handball and volleyball from 12 to 7.
It was gathered that athletes and officials of the Bayelsa State Sports Council on Monday took to the streets in protest over the non release of funds meant for allowances.
Reports say the athletes stormed the Government House gate with placards, demanding for camp remunerations in preparation for the biggest Nigeria sporting event.
It was disclosed that the officials demanded for N5,000 and N3,000 as camping allowance for both coaches and athletes. The Sports Council had applied for a total of N250m to execute the festival, but, the government approved N20m.
During the protest which lasted for more than 30 minutes, no government official was available to address the protesting sportsmen and women.