*As workers desert offices out of fear
*Federal secretariat offices also inactive
By Oluwole Francis
Massive fears of the safety of their lives now rule the minds of staffers of the Ministry of Youths and Sports Developments who have their offices in the National Stadium due to the supremacy of snakes, scorpions and such other reptiles that have proliferated the edifice.
Investigations by www.gongnews.net showed that many sections of the stadium’s Package A and B have been outgrown by weeds. It is the responsibility of the facilities department to keep the environment and structures in habitable format in all the National Stadia in the country.
If the National stadia in Abuja, the nation’s seat of authority is this abandoned, then, one can start to imagine what the situation will be like in the zonal offices.
The Abuja National Stadium, which was built to host the 8th edition of the All Africa Games 2003 and described as one of the best in the continent and the world, has become a ghost of itself with dangerous reptiles and weed taking over the whole premises.
Many of the staffers since the advent of the current minister, Solomon Dalung, who has chosen to operate from the Phase II of the Federal Secretariat where the Office of the Head of Service is, has made the abandonment of his offices in the Phase 1 and that of the National Stadium so easy to accomplish. Most senior members of the organisation all relocated to where the minister operates from also abandoning their spaces in the stadium.
With about three big snakes killed inside staff offices between September and second week of November, many of the ministry staff whose offices are inside the stadium have abandoned their offices for fear of being bitten by snakes and scorpions which crawl all over the premises and sneak into the offices.
Lucky escape from snake bite: A staff of one of the sports federations at the Package B of the Abuja Stadium was so lucky. She got to work, entered the office, dropped her bag, did a long prayer. While she was busy praying, another staff who peeped to greet her raised the alarm of a big snake which was on the file drawer opposite her.
The concerned woman said: “the whole premises have been overtaken by weed and as a result, snakes and scorpions contest office spaces with us. A week before mine, when a colleague was hearing rustling sound, he checked and killed a snake that may have crawled in there for days.
“Nobody wants to be bitten by a snake or scorpion so most of us just come and hang around a little and leave for the house,” she said.
Another staff who wondered what the allocation the ministry gets for the functioning of the various departments is used for said, “the last time the weeds were cut and the lawns maintained and the premises fumigated was during the tenure of Alhassan Yakmut as Director General of the National Sports Commission.”
“Since Dalung assumed office as minister, he has refused to use his office at the stadium or even the Federal secretariat. He seldom visits the stadium except to occasionally attend some functions which are usually held there. Worst still, he has refused to engage the staff attached to his office from the sports department of the ministry. He instead relies only on the staff of the Youth department of the ministry,” the staff disclosed.
Budget conspiracy against sports: Not until a staff called the attention of this newspaper to the fact that there seems to be a conspiracy against sports even in budgetary allocations. Sports had operated in the outgoing budget season on a zero line.
Of the N83,416,015,167 billion budgeted for the Youth and Sports Ministry, the youth department which houses both the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC) took a lion share of N74,007, 622,305 billion (NYSC-N72,875, 300, 832billion and CLTC N1,132,321,473billion).
The ministry’s headquarters was expected to get N7,762,617,332 billion being the total for its recurrent and capital expenditures. The NFF was expected to receive N1,149,250,310 billion while the National Institute for Sports (NIS) will receive N496,525,218 million.
Like in 2016, the 42 sports federations were surprisingly not mentioned for any fund. So, the Sports section of the ministry was not existing in the real sense of the budget allocation, therefore, the stadium was not designed to be maintained or kept alive.