Nigeria News

N97m re-grassing cost of Abuja stadium pitch doubtful – Gaiya

The House of Representatives Committee on Sports on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction with the renovated Abuja stadium pitch.

Rep. Godfrey Gaiya, who led his committee members on oversight function to the Abuja Stadium on Tuesday, described the N96.6 million used for the re-grassing of the pitch as “doubtful”.

He told newsmen that as a legislator, he was disappointed with the level of work carried out by Julius Berger PLC as there was not enough drainage to drain the water after the rain.

“The re-grassing is just an aspect of the renovation and they said today that it cost them N96.6 million to do.

“My verdict is that I am not comfortable with the level of water logged on the pitch.

“I was in Calabar and it rained for three days non-stop before the match and you cannot compare Calabar that is in tropical environment to Abuja that is in the Savannah where rain is lighter.

“So, if it rained in Calabar for three days when Nigeria played Malawi and I never saw anything like waterlogged spot, why should ordinary drizzling cause water ponds on the renovated Abuja pitch,” Gaiya asked.

The legislator vowed that the National Sports Commission (NSC) must give detailed account of all their spending for the renovation of the stadium.

Gaiya regretted that he had no powers to summon the contractors, Julius Berger PLC, to explain but maintained that the NSC would be held responsible for any poor job done.

“We never entered into a contractual agreement with Julius Berger. Our oversight function rests on the NSC.

“It is the NSC that will bring its client to order when our observations are made known to them.

“We hope if they can relay the message to Julius Berger to get it done the way every Nigerian will be comfortable with,” he said.

Rep. Gaiya further described as “uncalled for” the ceremony which followed the renovation, noting that it was not a norm in the country to celebrate renovation of projects.

He pointed out that it was only ideal for new projects to be commissioned.

“What will you do if you complete the eight-lane road between Zuba and Airport,” he questioned.

The oversight work at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) did not witness any controversy.

The Committee assured the NFA of increased budgetary provision for 2014, as the zero allocation for capital project had prevented the NFA from relocating to its new secretariat.

The NFA Chairman, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, had earlier said that the N1.6 billion given to the NFA for 2013 fiscal year was grossly inadequate considering the 13 national teams it had to carter for.

Maigari noted that about N100 million was spent for Nigeria’s participation at the 2013 Under-20 World championship in Turkey, while N170 million was used to prosecute the Confederations Cup hosted by Brazil in June.

According to Maigari, Governors of Cross River and Kaduna states had on several occasions borne the cost of NFA activities to ease the burden on the secretariat.

“We chartered planes in the past to convey stakeholders, including the supporters club to major tournaments, but we have had to stop this because it is not affordable.

“We have sought help from various quarters; but for now, we are managing.”

Mr Musa Amadu, the General Secretary of the NFA, confirmed the financial position of the football house, noting that the grants received from CAF was also used to run the national teams.

The Committee’s oversight function will continue on Thursday in Lagos before heading to Kaduna on Monday.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websits. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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