The National Stadium, Lagos is again in the news for the wrong reason after one of the floodlights inside the dilapidated sporting arena collapsed following a downpour Wednesday morning.
No casualties were recorded, eyewitnesses told The PUNCH.
Our correspondent learnt one of the floodlights pillars in Terrace K of the stadium caved in from the middle, forcing the floodlights to land on the empty space beside it.
An eyewitness, Temitope Oloyede, an athlete, who was at the stadium for his routine training, told The PUNCH, “We took cover in one of the buildings at the stadium because of the heavy rains and windstorm, when we heard a loud noise. We didn’t know it was the floodlights that had collapsed until after the rain, when we resumed our training. Thank God no death or injury was recorded.”
He also urged the government to immediately renovate the edifice to avoid a “future disaster.”
“Athletes and people who visit the stadium for fun were lucky it was raining heavily and were not around the scene. It could have been worse,” Oloyede added.
“We are calling on the incoming government to help forestall further mishaps at the stadium by renovating it. It’s apparent the present government won’t be able to do that now.”
Wednesday’s incident comes barely two weeks after the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, who was on an inspection visit to the National Stadium to assess the level of work at the decaying national monument, said the Federal Government would need a staggering N21bn to renovate the stadium.
The minister confirmed that the integrity test carried out on the stands at the stadium revealed that only only 40 per cent was certified okay.
“What is needed to fix the National Stadium Surulere after 17 plus years of neglect is in excess of 21 billion naira, about 45 million dollars, of which we have just about 500m naira from private and government funding. There is a limit to what can be fixed,” the 56-year-old minister wrote on Twitter after his latest inspection of the stadium.
“Upon assumption of office in 2019, I met the National Stadium in a completely run down state. Left to rot for almost 17 plus years. No renovations (or) upgrades. Illegal occupants had taken over. The Illegal occupants had distorted the original plan.”
The stadium, built in 1972, was one of Africa’s iconic sporting arenas at the time and hosted top international sporting events like the African Games in 1973, the 1980 and 2000 African Cup of Nations finals and the U-20 World Cup (1999). (Punch)