The Federal Government has approved for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to open and make available the stadiums in Surulere, Lagos; Ibadan; Abuja; and Kaduna as well as the orientation camps of the National Youth Service Corps nationwide for use as isolation centers for COVID-19 as may be needed.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, confirmed this via his Twitter handle.
Dare explained that the ministry was in in touch with relevant authorities and stakeholders to make these facilities available in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval and as part of its contribution to halting the spread of COVID-19.
He said: “Since the stadiums are huge complexes with many outdoor and indoor areas, it is now up to medical personnel and authorities to determine the appropriate areas of usage if and when necessary.
“The stadiums can be used as testing centres and because of space they will allow for required distancing. The identification and fumigation of multiple buildings such as the multipurpose sports hall, gymnastics and other spaces located in the stadium will commence shortly.
“The world over, stadiums are being used by nations as they race against the ravages of COVID-19. The Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid Stadium) will be turned into a storage and distribution centre for medical materials donated to the health authorities in Spain. London’s ExCeL Exhibition and Conference Centre is being repurposed to care for patients infected with COVID-19. In Brazil, top football clubs have turned over their stadiums to the country’s health authorities to use as field hospitals. The Hard Rock Stadium in Florida, United States was converted into a community testing centre amongst others. Back home, Lagos State Government has set up the Onikan Stadium (Mobolaji Johnson Stadium) to support efforts at halting the pandemic.
“While our prayers are that Nigeria never gets to the level where these facilities will be put to this use, we must however all be prepared to support the system and ensure that the nation is not caught unawares.”