Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) and Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, has said all guidelines to curtail the spread of COVID-19 during the games scheduled to take place between April 2 and 14, 2021, will be strictly adhered to.
Shaibu disclosed this while briefing journalists at the Government House, Benin City on the state’s readiness to host the National Sports Festival.
Shaibu noted that the Unity Torch for Edo 2020 will arrive Edo State on April 3, 2021 and will go round the 18 local governments in the state, adding that the torch for the games will arrive the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium main bowl on April 6, where the governor would light it up.
He said the Main Oganising Committee (MOC) has decided that all athletes/officials from the 35 states and the FCT, participating in the National Sports Festival must take COVID-19 tests 72 hours before arrival for the tournament.
The LOC chair said: “All athletes/officials are to take COVID-19 vaccine at least 12 days before arrival for the tournament. The Games Village is to open on April 2, 2021, for athletes/officials. Athletes/officials are to present certificates and documentation of COVID-19 tests and vaccination before they can be admitted into the Games Villages in the state.”
The Deputy Governor noted that the number of athletes and officials expected to participate in the games have been reduced from 14,000 to 8,000 participants in line with COVID-19 protocols.
He noted that officials of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will arrive in Benin City four days prior to the commencement of the festival to monitor compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
“All the non-pharmaceutical measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 will be provided for by the state government at the various venues and camps. Attendance at the games is strictly regulated, and the general public is advised to follow the activities across media platforms, including social platforms, as it will be streamed live.”
On his part, Project Manager for Team Edo, Anehita Emeya, said the team is presenting 689 athletes and 236 officials, reassuring that the team will make Edo proud at the national competition.
“We have started accessing the various training venues. Tomorrow our team will commence vaccination for our team before we go into the games village. We are prepared to host and win the games.”
Also, Head of Transportation for the games and the Managing Director Edo City Transport Service (ECTS), Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, said all is set in terms of transportation for the games, adding that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure the 50 per cent capacity guideline on COVID-19 is adhered to.
“Arrangements have been made to ensure free flow of traffic during the games and the route to ply during the game will be announced soon,” she added.