By Gracious Akujobi
House of Representatives Committee on Sports on Wednesday raised alarm over the high cost of re-grassing the Abuja stadium pitch which cost N97 million but poorly done.
Godfrey Gaiya, the chairman who led members of the committee members on oversight function to the Abuja Stadium 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 rain.”
“The re-grassing is just an aspect of the renovation and they said today that it cost them 96.6million naira to do. My verdict is that I am not comfortable with the water logging on the pitch”
“I was in Calabar and it rained for three days before the match non-stop 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 but ordinary drizzling caused water ponds on the renovated Abuja pitch,’’ Gaiya said.
The legislator vowed that the National Sports Commission (NSC) must give detailed account of all their spending on the stadium renovation.
Gaiya regretted that he had no powers to summon the contractors, Julius Berger Plc, for explanation but maintained that the NSC would be held responsible for the poor job done.
He also described as “uncalled for” the ceremony that 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.
Meanwhile, the committee also visited Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) where members assured the NFF of increased budgetary provision for 2014, as the zero allocation for capital project had prevented the NFF from relocating to its new secretariat.
The NFF President, Aminu Maigari, had earlier said that the N1.6 billion given to the NFF for 2013 fiscal year was grossly inadequate considering the 13 national teams it had to carter for.
Maigari noted that about N100million was spent for Nigeria’s participation at the Under-20 World cup in Turkey, while N170million was used to prosecute the Confederation Cup hosted by Brazil, in June.
According to Maigari, Governors of Cross River and Kaduna had on several occasion bore the cost of the NFF activities just to make life easy for the secretariat.
He said “we chartered plane in the past to convey stakeholders including the supporters club to major tournaments, but it is no more because it is unaffordable.We have made a lot of complaints for help but in all these, we are still managing”
General Secretary of NFF Musa Amadu, also confirmed the financial position of the football house, noting that the grants received from CAF was also used to run the national teams.
Prompt News Online reports that the Committee’s oversight function will continue on Thursday in Lagos, while the train will move to Kaduna on Monday.