The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Tuesday said it had become obvious that the Federal Government could no longer manage sports facilities successfully.
He said that informed the decision of the current administration to continue with the concession agreement it inherited from the past government.
Dalung spoke with State House correspondents after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to brief him on the performance of the country at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The minister said, “I agree that there is under-utilisation of sports facilities in Abuja. That has taken us to the issue of concession.
“The facilities cannot be managed effectively by government, looking at the budgetary allocation for even the maintenance.
“Government cannot maintain those things. So what we intend to do is to proceed with the concession process we met on the ground.”
Dalung recalled that the Federal Executive Council had in 2012 approved the concession of the Abuja and Lagos stadiums.
He said the government had proceeded with the arrangements and had appointed consultants.
He said the ministry was at the stage of getting the approval of the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
Once that is done, Dalung said the ministry would proceed to call for bids and engage the private sector so that it could run the concession arrangement with them.
He added that the process of transforming the Abuja and Lagos stadiums was also ongoing.
The minister said, “We have also received the drawing on the proposed transformation of the places, which will include the creation of artificial lake at the Abuja Stadium that will provide for 12 water sports; then the building of a five-star hotel in Abuja.
“Lagos will have the same thing. The adjoining land will have a park and a five-star hotel.
“The moment you put these two, the economic status of the stadium will be uplifted and you will have foreign athletes coming in because there will be facilities. That’s the best way we can maximise the stadium in Abuja in view of how it was located.”
Dalung said he had suggested to Buhari that a befitting reception be organised in honour of the nation’s Paralympic team.
He said the President would take a final decision on the matter.