Niger’s Commissioner for Education, Hannatu Salihu, on Monday said the state would through sports harness everything possible to curb youth restiveness in the state and launch youths into discovering their hidden potential.
The Commissioner said this in Minna while unveiling plans ahead of the Niger State Schools Sports Festival 2020.
“The festival is part of the State Government’s effort to reinvent and resuscitate school sports and encourage the discovery and development of hidden talents amongst students across the state,” she said.
Salihu said apart from football, other sports such as athletics, judo, badminton, table tennis, lawn tennis, volleyball, basketball, skating, hockey, swimming, handball, amongst others, would feature at the festival.
“I can tell you that 1,715 athletes across the state are expected to compete in the finals,” she said.
Similarly, the state’s Commissioner for Sports, Emmanuel Umar, said the festival would help the state to hunt for talents who would be of benefit not only to themselves but the state at large.
He said this was because they would continue to represent the state in the sports arena.
Umar however expressed his ministry’s gratitude to the Ministry of Education for the opportunity to collaborate with them in executing the project.
“This festival will help in developing the youths’ psycho-motor, not only in the physical aspect but in academics too.
“We as a ministry we are readily available to supply professional and technical support that would be needed. We are at your service and will concertedly work in synergy to achieve the purpose of this collaboration,” he said.
Also speaking, Isah Adamu, Chairman, Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB), said the decision to revamp and resuscitate the lost glory of sports activities in Niger was “a milestone in the administration of Gov. Abubakar Bello.
“There was a time the standard of learning in Niger reached a crescendo and all and sundry admired us. That was achieved because we matched intellectual activity with sports activities.
“At that time the name Niger rang a bell all over the country because we were good in hockey, volleyball, handball, baseball and basketball. But unfortunately that has been relegated to the background.
“This is worthy of concern because it has affected learning in our schools. Let me say that it has been established by scholars that there are proportional relationship between learning and physical activity,” he said.
Adamu explained that the decision to revive sports activities in Niger portrayed the administration of Gov. Abubakar Bello as a lover of sports.
“This is a milestone in the history of this administration. Let me also say that under the distinguished leadership of both the Commissioner for Education and Commissioner for Sports, we are making history.
“I want to say here that it is on the pedestal of sports that we can build peace, love, unity, socialisation and increase the capacity of our children’s interest in building our nation,” he said.