Football stakeholders have expressed shock at the current state of the Abuja National Stadium, which hosted the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Charity Cup between Rangers International and FC IfeanyiUbah on Wednesday.
The formerly lush green pitch of the stadium, which has hosted several international matches, has automatic turned grey due to poor maintenance culture at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. And stakeholders wondered how the supervising ministry allowed the great edifice to degenerate to its current abandoned state.
The House of Representative Committee on Sports had earlier criticised the Minister of Sports for abandoning the stadium, stressing that he must relocate his operational office to the stadium as it has been the practice under past ministers in order to save the facilities.
Among the stakeholders who expressed their disappointment on the state of the stadium was the Senate committee chairman of sports, Senate Obinna Ogba who was a former vice president of the NFF.
Meanwhile the minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung has maintained that the ministry did not abandon the stadium, adding that the sorry state was as a result of lack of fund to maintain the facilities.
Dalung, who explained that the ministry has no budget for facilities maintenance noted that the recent disconnection of light at the stadium contributed to its worsening state.
“The dilapidated nature of the stadium is worrisome to us at the ministry too. It has been left to this state because of our inability to pay up our accumulated electricity bill which has led to the disconnection of power supply to the stadium.
“These things are maintained by electricity and water. The ministry suffered disconnection of light at the stadium from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) due to our inability to pay accumulated bills.
“They are more worrisome because the maintenance of the stadium is not contained in our budget provisions. There is no budget for the maintenance of our sporting facilities.