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Despite new name, grasses take over $360m (MKO) Abiola stadium as facility falls into disrepair 

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Despite new name, grasses take over $360m (MKO) Abiola stadium as facility falls into disrepair 

The National Stadium now renamed Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, has fallen into disrepair following the failure of the government to maintain the facility which was being taken over by overgrown grasses.

Findings indicate that many facilities at the complex built at a whopping $360 million in 2003, had deteriorated while the environment looked unkempt and rough with tall grasses and bushes growing around the walkways and parking lot.

The sports complex was renamed Moshood Abiola in commemoration of the sacrifices of the winner of the June 12, 1993 elections by President Muhammadu Buhari during the democracy day celebration in Abuja on Wednesday.

The facility which was constructed to host the 8th All Africa Games in October 2003 consists 60,491 capacity covered the main bowl; Presidential suite and viewing area; 56 corporate suites; post offices; banks; media facilities; two scoreboards and floodlights as well as shops and kiosks.

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Other features include a helipad, 3000 capacity indoor sports hall, 2000 capacity gymnast, 2000 capacity swimming pool, Tennis Courts, 3000 capacity hockey stadium and baseball and softball complex.

The MANS was also equipped with emergency service units, closed-circuit security cameras many of which were no longer functional.

Checks also revealed that about three out of the eight fire-fighting vehicles at the complex had broken down for many years.

Our correspondent who visited the package A and B of the facility on Thursday observed that the football pitch looked patchy with an air of abandonment and desolation pervading the complex.

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While the lawn tennis and handball court appeared to be in fairly good condition, the same could not be said of the swimming pool which was beginning to show signs of decay due to lack of maintenance.

Many of the seats at the spectators’ section have been badly damaged or vandalized while the bad ones were simply dumped on the top deck in a messy lump.

Cattle droppings could be seen all over the surroundings of the indoor section of the stadium showing that it was still a favorite of herdsmen who grazed their animals without any hindrances.

The Ministry of Sports and Youth Development which was in charge of the facility had earlier complained that its budget was not sufficient to maintain the stadium.

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The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Olusade Adesola, stated that the ministry’s 2018 budget which he put at N116 billion “was not sufficient to paint the stadium,” noting that the government was planning to concession the facility.

“The concession is on the table; In fact, we are working on a concession plan. I don’t know how long before it will materialize but it is a process and it is on,” he reportedly stated.

Adesola could not be reached for comment on the status of the concession plan for the stadium.

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