Mitchell Obi – AIPS Africa President
LAGOS, October 15, 2020 – The focus in Nigeria today has shifted from the challenge of curtailing the spread of COVID 19 to that of checking the spread of protests by the youths nationwide against police brutality as shown over time by the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
COVID-19 has gingerly taken the back seat and attention is no longer spared to the daily routine of infection figures released by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19…
Somehow It has been a worrisome situation in the last four days as many protesters on the streets seem more concerned on driving home their message of seeing the federal government effectively reform the police force than spare a good moment for masks and the Covid-19 protection protocol. No doubt, the released figures of infected persons have floated between two and three digits in the last one month and there is a mixed feeling that the worst phase of the pandemic may now be distant.
Nonetheless full sporting activities are yet to return even as some states have gone ahead to plan for an elaborate marathon next month. Precisely Kaduna and Abeokuta, key cities in the Northwest and South west of the country respectively are preparing for a full blown marathon…We are on alert to see how these major one-day events will be managed with full respect for the pandemic protection protocol.
Encouraging though non-contact sports have since resumed without the crowds and the big wait is for the greenlight on the professional football league. The switch on came last month but the government suddenly had to change its mind after consultation. Another wait is also on for the release of the palliatives for sports journalists as announced in a comprehensive package by the Nigeria Football Federation. As part of its disbursement of the FIFA relief funds for member associations, the Nigeria Football Federation made allocations to its stakeholders which also included the SportsWriters Association Of Nigeria. The announcement, so warmly hailed, was made in August and till date the different stakeholders are waiting to receive their share of the relief funds.
Gradually the sporting press in Nigeria is finding its voice especially as coverage of the national team in two high-profile friendlies against the Africa Nations Cup champions Algeria and Tunisia rekindled the glow of good followership and readership in the multi media platforms. It was the return of the national team to the pitch after an 11- month hiatus..And what a relief!!