The 2016 Nigerian Army Sports Festival NAFEST, has kicks off in Abuja today Monday,10th October, 2016.
Speaking in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Nigeria Army Sports Festival held at the mainbowl of the National Stadium, President Buhari said it was high time the Army took their rightful place in the sports circle.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau, seized the opportunity to call on organisers of the event to use the games to identify talents that will represent Nigeria in international sporting activities.
“We remain committed to ensuring that you are provided with the required resources and motivation. The administration is also devoted to improving sports development in the country and taking adequate steps to ensure Nigeria continued to excel at international sports tournaments.
“On this note, it is with great pleasure that I declare this 16th Nigerian Army Sports Festival open,” he said.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, while welcoming the guests, officials and athletes to the event, said the need to improve the physical fitness of Nigerian troops, inculcate the spirit of fair play and friendly contest was part of the key reasons to hold the games after seven years absence.
It is also aimed at impacting espirit de corp through social interaction between officers of the Nigerian army as well as personnel.
He explained that constant physical exercise and team work by the men of the Nigerian Army could lead to the attainment of a professionally responsive unit capable of discharging its duties.
“We will continue to develop and promote sports in the Nigerian Army and identify talents who will represent and win laurels for the country. This sports festival will provide an opportunity to identify such talents,” he said.
Buratai promised that the Army would leave no stone unturned in encouraging talented officers in sports.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, commended the leadership of the Nigerian Army for reviving NASFEST through the leadership of Lt. Gen T.Y Buratai.
He used the opportunity to call on government at all levels to invest more in sports at the grassroots, which will help in the fight against crime, terrorism and other social vices in the country.
“Let me make a general appeal to governments at all levels as well as industrialists and corporate organizations to make sports development a priority by devoting more resources into development of our youth.
“Massive investment in sports development will no doubt ensure that the youths are productively engaged, thereby saving the country from avoidable cycle of committing huge resources annually to the fight against terrorism,” he said.