SHOCKING! Nigeria to face national embarrassment from herdsmen in Abuja!

Officials of Nigeria’s sports ministry are working overtime get the National Stadium in Abuja in good shape for the 2018 National Sports Festival which is scheduled to hold from December 6 to 16, with the main bowl’s pitch left in a bad condition due to a lack of activities which led to herdsmen using the grass to feed their cattle and messing up the venue.

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National Stadium workers and Sports Ministry officials were seen at the venue trying to cut the tall grasses which has taken over almost every part of the complex, including Packages A and B, as well as the much talked about Sunday Dankaro House, the structure meant to house the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). Fresh as well as dried cow dung dot the asphalt within the complex, just as rabbit and other reptiles’ holes is visible within the main bowl pitch.

However, other stakeholders have laid the blame with the sports ministry for failing to carry out routine maintenance, including cleaning the environment and providing adequate security around the complex. According to some security officials at the gates of the stadium, the neglect of the complex gave herdsmen unhindered access to the stadium. They disclosed that some of the officials see the presence of the herdsmen in the stadium as necessary for the weeding of the grasses.

“The herdsmen come into the stadium with their cattle almost every day. They come through the collapsed portion of the fence and we cannot stop them because we are not armed. The big men at the ministry are aware of the situation, but they have refused to do anything about it, meaning they are comfortable with it. We cannot stop the herdsmen with their cattle because we are not armed, and they (the sports ministry) have refused to engage policemen to beef up the security around the stadium.

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“Look at weeds everywhere on the premises and they have refused to engage someone to clear the weeds. Maybe the government is trying to save money by allowing the animals to graze on weeds,” one of the security guards said. Another security official said, “If you came here during the rainy season around June, July, we would think you were in a mini zoo with the number of rodents, birds and some reptiles you would see running around everywhere. Sometimes it was risky to enter the premises at night because you didn’t know what you would meet. Snakes or scorpions could bite you. It was only recently that some people started coming to clean the place.”

With the National Sports Festival opening ceremony still slated to take place on Thursday, December 6, will it turn out to be an event bringing shame to Nigeria or would the officials succeed in getting the venue in good shape in time?