By Ogar Monday
The Cross River State Government has refuted claims in some quarters that it has lost the National Sports Festival hosting rights which it got since 2014.
The rebuttal was done by the State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Asu Okang at the defense of the 2017 budget by the Cross River State House Committee on Budget and Appropriation.
The Commissioner stated that his Ministry needed about six hundred million naira (N600,000,000) to complete the various sports facilities around the 11 centers that were supposed to host the games.
He added that due to paucity of funds the government then prioritized and moved the remaining projects to the 2017 budget.
Asu said one of the core objectives of his Ministry upon assumption of office is to host the National Sports Festival and that with what is in the Ministry’s budget the event will hold by the first or second quarter of 2017.
Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, told reporters last year that the Federal Government will host the 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja next year.
Cross River won the hosting right for the sports fiesta after the 18th edition in Lagos but paucity of funds and the inability of the state to complete necessary facilities for the games has caused repeated postponements.
The state government after three postponements fixed the games again for November 2016 but that also did not change anything as the games still could not hold.
Dalung was reported by CrossRiverWatch last year to have told journalists aboard an Arik airline flight from Ndola, Zambia, to Abuja that the Federal Government would host the event this year (2017) in Abuja.
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