The Federal Government today promised to support University of Ilorin (Unilorin) to build a sport centre with world class sports equipment to boost sporting activities in the university.
The promise was made through Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, when he visited Unilorin, where the ongoing 4th National Youth Games in Ilorin is being held.
Dalung said the support was aimed at enabling the institution meet the growing number of athletes who participate in the games every year.
“Owing to the fact that the number of athletes keep increasing with every edition, we know that Unilorin may not be able to meet up structurally.
“In this edition, we have over 3,800 athletes compared to over 2,000 we had last year, so we know it may not be easy.
“So, we are supporting the initiative by the institution to request for funding to support improvement of the facilities.
“The facilities will not only be used for games like this, but by your students to enable you to produce healthy graduates,” Dalung said.
The minister commended the institution for hosting the games in the last three years.
“We commend the management and staff of this institution for supporting the laudable initiative of giving children the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The importance of sports cannot be overemphasized as it is the only sector with highest number of job opportunities,” Dalung said.
He believed that there would be stability if 10 or 30 percent of the country’s budeget was directed to sports.
“Globally, sports have been identified as a means of conflict resolution.
“So, if we are battling with crises and conflicts in Nigeria, it is suggestive that we have not used the proper tools.
“Neglecting sports is like neglecting the future of our youths, because there is no investment suggesting that we are reforming their future for them,” Dalung said.
The minister urged the university management to introduce sporting engagements for senior members of staff.
“You need to set the pace, not only in producing academics, but healthy academics,” Dalung said.
In his remarks, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, thanked the minister for offering to help before asking.
Abdulkareem urged the Federal Government to make provisions to reward athletes that had made the country proud.