THISDAY

The Commissioner for Sports in Abia, Dr. Martins Okoji, said on Thursday that the state government has set Feb. 22 deadline for the completion of the re-grassing of the Enyimba Stadium, Aba.

Okoji disclosed that the government regretted the inability to meet the Jan. 14 deadlines earlier set for the completion of the project.

“It is unfortunate that the Jan. 14 targets could not be realized, so the government has set Feb. 22 as the new target for the completion of the project,” he said.

He blamed the delay in completing the job on the variations in the cost of the contract, which was awarded to Monimichelle in 2016 at one million dollars.

The commissioner said that the state government was considering the price variation submitted by the contractor.

“Government is discussing with the contractor over the request for price variation, resulting from the recession and high cost of materials since 2016 that the project was awarded,” he said.

He restated government’s commitment toward the completion of the project to enable Enyimba players to return to Aba for their home matches in the 2017/2018 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), which kicked off last Sunday.

Okoji appealed to the management, players, and fans of the club to exercise patience as the contractor was working round the clock to meet the new deadline.

He said that he was optimistic that the project would be completed and handed over to the government on the new date.

He said that government fixed the Jan. 13 deadlines, hoping that it would be ready ahead of the commencement of the new league season.

The commissioner further restated government’s commitment to the development of other sports in the state.

He lauded Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for funding two premier league clubs, including Enyimba International FC, Aba, and Abia Warriors FC, in addition to Abia Comets, which is in the National League.

He said, “Abia is the only state in the country with two clubs in the premier league and one in the national league.

“So the government is spending huge resources on these clubs, which are doing well in the two leagues,” Okoji said.

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