By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief North Central, in Minna)
The Niger state government has inaugurated 26 Sporting Associations, charging the newly inaugurated members drawn from private and public sector, military, para-military, civilians and business men/women to work out strategies to use sports as a bait to discourage youths from taking to crime and other forms of criminality.
Inaugurating the associations which included members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, represented by the state Commissioner Youth and Sports, Alhaji Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji, enjoined the leadership of the associations to do all that they could do to use sports in checking all forms of youth criminality and restiveness.
“As you stand inaugurated today, I urge you to work out modalities to use sports as a bait to depleting the number of youths that have taken to crime, including armed banditry by encouraging them to embrace different types of sports as a vocation”, governor Bello said.
With the state grappling with diverse security challenges including attacks and killings by ISWAP/Boko-Haram/Armed Banditry, Governor Bello said the state cannot afford to have more of its future leaders enmeshed in criminal activities hence the inauguration.
“Many of our youths are roaming the streets and I want to believe that you will engage them in the different sporting activities as a way of not only discouraging them from taking to crime but to check youth restiveness in our state”.
Governor Bello however reminded the associations of the need to solicit for support from private and corporate organisations in order to achieve the desired goals, as government with lean resources cannot meet all the needs of the citizenry.
Responding on behalf of others, the Chairman of Volleyball Association, Mr. Shuaibu Iya, assured the governor of the commitments of the associations towards actualizing the common goal of diverting the mention of more youths away from crime to embracing sports as a vocation.
The State Director of Sports, Alhaji Baba Sheshi, had earlier enjoined the association members to deploy the needed good human resources management skills attractive to the youths without which it will be difficult to pull them out from evil thoughts that lead them to committing crimes.
Among the associations inaugurated included; Football, Badminton, Squash, Table tennis, Volleyball, Kick-boxing, Karate, Kung-fu, Weightlifting, Base/softball, Basketball, Judo Scrabble, Chess, Taekwondo, Swimming, Athletics, Hockey, Wrestling and Special sports. NNL.