The Niger government says it will pay allowances of officials and athletes representing the state ahead of the 21st National Sports Festival (NSF).

Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, the state Commissioner for Youth Affairs and Sports Development, said this in Minna in meeting organised for the athletes and officials, explaining that the government would pay 100 per cent and 50 per cent allowances of officials and athletes respectively.

“Our officials, sports men and women will receive 100 per cent and 50 per cent of their Delta allowances before leaving for the NSF.

“Our athletes will receive 50 per cent of their pay while our coaches and other officials will receive 100 per cent,” he said.

Suleiman explained that the measure was to encourage the team to do the state proud by winning medals.

“This is a window for you to enhance your capability and future endeavours, so it is more to you than it is to the state,” he said.

He said that all the equipment and material needed for the fiesta had been delivered to the coaches and officials.

The commissioner emphasised that the government would place premium on match bonuses for all the events.

He enjoined the contingent to be good ambassadors of the state during the games scheduled for Asaba in Delta from Nov. 28 to Dec. 10.

Responding on behalf of the coaches, Umar Danladi, Hockey Coach promised that the athletes and officials would reciprocate government efforts by winning medals.

Similarly, Femi Tunji, handball player, promised that the athletes would obey their coaches and officials to enable them finish victoriously.

Also, Mr Danjuma Masu, a contractor and indigene of the state, promised the contingent N200,000 if they win gold medal in any team event and N100,000 for individual event.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 124-man contingent from the state made up of 96 athletes and 28 officials would participate in 20 sports during the fiesta.

The state government had approved N30 million to purchase equipment and to prosecute the 2022 NSF.

NAN recalls that in the 20th NSF in Benin, tagged “Edo 2020” Niger finished 21st with three gold, two silver and seven bronze medals.(NAN)