Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo will on Friday present sports equipment worth over N574 million to 2,000 primary schools spread across the country, the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) said on Wednesday.
Habu Gumel, the NLTF Executive Secretary, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja said the equipment are in nine sports, which include football and athletics.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rest of the sports are volleyball, handball, badminton, table tennis, basketball, judo and taekwondo.
“The equipment, worth N574,019,838.64, will be officially unveiled and commissioned before they are presented to the schools at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, with many stakeholders in attendance,’’ Gumel said.
He said the sports equipment would be distributed to the schools to enhance grassroots development in the country, saying the schools’ choice was evenly distributed across the country.
“We have done an equitable distribution in our choice of the schools to receive the equipment, with all the geo-political zones, the 36 states and the FCT all taken care of.
“We involved the states in this, and we also asked them to ensure this is done putting in mind an even spread across their respective three senatorial districts’’
Gumel, a former Director of Facilities in the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), said NLTF had observed that many of the primary schools across the country did not have sports facilities.
He pointed out that this specifically informed the decision of the Fund, as an intervention agency, to purchase the equipment and therefore enhance grassroots sports development.
“Even we discovered that some of those who have some facilities are not with the right kind of facilities.
“So, our staff have taken notice of this, and we have also chosen the schools on the basis of their needs and how they can and will
be able to utilise the equipment.’’
The NLTF Executive Secretary said the agency had also put in place a robust system to monitor the usage of the equipment.
“In order to ensure the equipment are not diverted to the markets or elsewhere, or misused or under-utilised, we will monitor how the equipment are utilised.
“Our staff will from time to time go round to monitor this, and we will even go on to use their reports to look at how we can move on from this level to another level,’’ he said.
Gumel said the Fund was fully aware of the fact that presenting the schools with equipment alone would not totally enhance sports development.
“We believe the schools will be spurred by the equipment they get into finding the ways and means to utilise them, since we are going to be sending our staff across the country to monitor these equipment’s usage.
“They can get their respective local and state governments, or area councils, to assist them in getting the other things that will complement the equipment, either in the area of training of athletes or the maintenance of equipment.
“For example, we have had discussions with the FCT Administration on this and they have promised that coaches will be provided to continue to train the students,’’ the member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.
Gumel who presides over the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) however acknowledged that the distribution of the equipment would significantly boost the lottery industry in Nigeria.
He further said the sports equipment presentation project would also enhance NLTF’s vision of promoting social activities among all Nigerians.
The NOC president said NLTF was in specific terms mandated to receive and credit into its accounts all monies payable to the fund.
“The trust fund receives remittances from all licensed lottery operators in Nigeria, between 20 per cent and 27.5 per cent of their proceeds from national lottery operations.
“NLTF is also empowered to use the proceeds from time to time to fund good cause projects as approved by the President of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Gumel then assured that the proceeds from lottery would also be used to develop other areas like education, health, social services, public welfare and management of natural disasters in Nigeria.
NAN reports that the process of purchasing the sports equipment direct from their manufacturers began in 2014, when a $3.7 million contract agreement was signed by the Federal Government.
The agreement also involved Messrs China Sports International Co. Ltd. and Messrs CAAN Sports Organisations Ltd. of Turkey.
The equipment were to be branded and designed for public primary schools.