Federal Government begins dismantling remaining floodlights at National Stadium Lagos
The Federal Government has started the process of removing the remaining floodlights inside the National Stadium, Lagos. According to The PUNCH, this was after one of the four floodlights’ pillars caved in from the middle, bringing down the ramshackle floodlights, following a windstorm last month. The move is to avert another tragedy at the 51-year-old stadium, with the remaining giant floodlights also dilapidated.
Outgoing minister Sunday Dare sounded a note of warning while on an inspection of the facility after the floodlights collapsed. This was his third inspection in one month, adding that the decaying sporting edifice would be temporarily closed to the public. He said, “We have decided to err on the side of caution, hence the decision to impose extensive restrictions around the stadium. We request the cooperation of anyone who this decision may inconvenience.”
On Thursday, some engineers were seen using a crane to dismantle one of the floodlights. “I can’t talk about this now because I’m not authorised to speak on this. I’m just here to work, but we will finish our job before the end of the month,” one of the engineers said. However, Toyin Ibiyoye, media aide to the sports minister, claimed he was not aware of the removal of the floodlights.
Despite the order to close down the arena, fun seekers, athletes, visitors and petty traders have defied the FG’s order and continue to use the stadium. Operators of bars, relaxation spots, and restaurants, as well as petty traders inside the edifice, went about their usual business tending to customers, while athletes also engaged in training sessions, some close to the dilapidated floodlights. Some boxers and choreographers were seen training and rehearsing inside the restricted areas close to where the first floodlights mast collapsed.
Matt Daniel, a bodybuilder, said he and his colleagues defied the closure order to ensure they kept fit for survival. “The partial closure of the stadium affected us and we had no choice but to continue going in there to train daily. Most of us are bodyguards at nite clubs and some work as security personnel during the day. The closure made life difficult. The sports ministry needs to speed up the work, so that we don’t hide while training.”
A boxer, Emmanuel Chukwuma, added, “It has been tough training and keeping fit all because of the action taken after the collapsed floodlights. I want to urge the sports ministry to quickly complete the dismantling of the remaining floodlights so that athletes training for events can properly do that.”