Several sports facilities in Gombe State are in dilapidated conditions, abandoned, and are now used for farming and grazing animals despite the allocation of N392 million for their construction, renovation, and upgrading in 2018 zonal intervention projects (ZIPs).
Five sports facilities in the state were nominated for completion, upgrading, and construction by Danjuma Goje, a senator representing Gombe central. Mr Goje is a former governor of the state.
Though the facilities were nominated by Mr Goje, they appeared under the budget of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), an agency under the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).
The facilities in question involve the completion of mini stadia at Kumo and Deba at N42 million, completion of Dadin Kowa and Pindiga mini stadia at N90 million, construction of mini-stadium at Kashere at N150 million, completion of mini sports centres at Dadin Kowa and Pindiga at N30 million and upgrading of Kumo and Deba mini stadia at N80 million.
The actual amount disbursed for the project is not known as the agency in charge refused to respond to inquiries include detail of the funds disbursed for the project.
When this reporter visited the facilities, they were either poorly executed or uncompleted. In fact, some have been abandoned and are being used for farming and grazing of animals.
After the stadium in Deba was upgraded, youths and football clubs in the area were elated but the facility has seen deteriorated to a state of ruin after a heavy storm in 2019.
Abuzaid (he gave only one name), a representative of Golden Star, a football club in Deba, Abuzaid, said after the wind blew away the roof of the stand, fans can no longer watch a game in Deba stadium especially when it rains.
“Even yesterday, when rain started, fans have to leave because the roof to cover them has been affected by the storm,” said secretary, Golden stars FC who identified himself as Abuzaid.
“Or they go under the stand, where they cannot even watch the match,” he added.
A resident attributed the state of the stadium to a poor job done by the contractor.
“The wind has flown the roofing sheets outside the stadium. We found some sheets on the road, the following morning,” said a block industry worker.
“This roof stand was affected by a single storm, you know it is not properly executed,” he added.
While in Dadin Kowa stadium, the lack of electricity in the arena caused people to stop going there for sporting events.
“When people come with the intention of hiring the stadium for events, and they find out that there is no power connection, they don’t,” said Ahmad, a security man at Dadin Kowa stadium.
Two years after the contract for the stadia and sports centres were awarded, the project has been abandoned.
Abubakar Adamu, a representative of the contractor, AB, and AH Nigeria Limited, blame the destruction of Deba stadium on the storm
He, however, added that the agency that gave the work mandated his company to do what he said was the wrong design for the roof.
“We took the agency to Pantami Stadium in Gombe and Bauchi stadium, so that they will see the type that was done but they said they don’t have money to do those types,” he said.
He told UDEME that all those roofs stands have been renovated for about three to four times.
He, however, there were plans to renovated the roof of the stands before the end of 2020.
Usman Mukhtar, who supervised the work under AB and AH Nigeria Limited promised this reporter that renovation of the damaged roof stands will commence in a couple of weeks as the contractor had reached the agency in charge to complain.
Kashere mini-stadium used as grazing land
The Kashere mini stadium in Akko local government area has no roof over its stands.
A young cattle rearer told Udeme that the roof stand was affected by a storm that happened earlier this year, 2020.
The pitch was covered with grasses and small trees. Cattle are grazing inside the N150 million stadium as water is gradually washing away the soil in the pitch.
Ahmed Aminu, the public relations officer of Geo Data World Services Limited, the contractor in charge of the stadium, asked for questions about the facility to be sent via email. Despite repeated promises to respond, the contractor did not get back to this reporter.
Pindiga and Dadin Kowa stadia
At Dadin Kowa stadium, Ahmad, the security man said that the facility was not completed based on what he saw on the building plan.
“Power was not connected to the stadium except for the borehole. But there are wiring inside.” He added.
When Udeme’s visited the Pindiga stadium, it was locked. This reporter couldn’t access the stadium because the security man was not around.
Abandoned Pindiga and Dadin Kowa sports centres
Some of the constituency projects facilitated by Mr. Goje, were abandoned and uninhabited. Some are used for farming
A resident of Pindiga, said the sports centre has remained unused since it was completed in 2018. The resident said only children play inside the hall of the sports centre.
“It is children like these that are playing ball inside the sports center,” said an old man who simply described himself as Abubakar.
“Even now if you go there, check, you will see plants inside,” he said.
Lawmaker, agency reactions
When reached for comments, Mr Goje didn’t answer several calls made to his phone nor reply text messages sent to his device.
Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), acknowledged receipt of an email sent to it for comment but failed to respond after several weeks.
“We are sorry about that. Your mail has been received and will be forwarded to the relevant department. Thank you.”