By; MUSA KUTAMA, Calabar.
The National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTR) on Thursday in Calabar donated equipment worth millions of Naira to 38 public primary schools in Cross River state.
The NLTF’s Executive Secretary, Mr Habu Gumel said the donation was in line with the Federal Government’s gesture to equip public primary schools for sporting excellence.
He said the donation followed the federal government’s flag-off of the donation of sporting equipment’s to about 2,000 public primary schools nationwide in May 2016 in Abuja.
He said the equipment donated in Calabar which covered nine different sports as well as those in states so far visited by the NLTF were worth several millions of Naira.
According to Gumel the gesture also reaffirms that Government is committed to advancing, uplifting and promoting grass roots sports in Nigeria.
He said government was determined to equip public primary schools with quality sports equipment through funding from the national lottery.
“This is a clear demonstration of government’s desire to foster better inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of our society especially school children.
“We are confident that this intervention programme will lead to the discovery of new talents in sports that abound in our communities and rural areas and also assist their physical and professional development.”
He charged the benefitting primary schools to put the equipment to good use in and ensure their proper security.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said President Mohammadu Buhari was determined to channel available resources to develop Nigeria’s economy.
He said that the renewed focus on the lottery industry was consistent with the federal government’s economic blueprint aimed at diversifying its economic base.
“Government is determined to harness needed resources wherever they may be found in order to continue to develop our economic potentials and apply them to the generality of Nigerians.
He said government is determined to devote full attention to the industry to ensure it performs to meet fully, the revenue and development aspirations of our people.
He said government has identified sports as a major revenue earner and capable of contributing significantly to our gross earnings outside of oil.
Lawal was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Dr Amina Shamaki,
Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River who received the equipment at Tinapa Resort decried a situation where Nigeria was only represented in very few sports at global sporting events apart from football.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, said the gesture by the Federal Government’s gesture through NLTF would meaningfully engage youths in other sporting activities.
He said that there were no doubts that with the equipment presented by the NLTF young people who take to sports and education would excel
He urged the benefitting schools to share what they have with neighbouring schools who had none and ensure the equipment were put to effective use.
The sports equipment donated NNsports reported were in nine sports: football, badminton, handball, table-tennis, volleyball, basketball, athletics A, athletics B and Taekwondo.