The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has written the Ministry of Youth and Sports development over its plan to host an athletics event in Lagos.
The Committee, in a letter dated 1 June, explained why Lagos cannot be the host of the 22nd edition of the African Athletics Championships.
Ripples Nigeria earlier reported how the Ministry of Sports had secured the hosting rights for the competition initially billed to take place in Algiers, Algeria.
Lagos was chosen as the new host after a meeting between Sports minister, Sunday Dare and the President of Confederation of African Athletics, Kalkaba Malboum in Cairo last month.
The PSC, in the letter signed by Dr. Assad Hassan, Deputy Head, Technical Secretariat for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, declined to grant approval for the hosting, giving three reasons.
“a. The increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in certain countries coupled with widespread prevalence of mutant strains of the virus outside Nigeria, which poses the risk of importation of these mutant strains,” the letter read in part.
“b. Recent re-institutionalisation of enforcement of the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations in the country due to increasing non-adherence by the public of non-pharmaceutical interventions and other COVID-19 protocols.
“c. Delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the citizenry due to a shortage in global supply of vaccines, which translates to a risk of another wave of infections in the country.”
The PSC added that due to the above reasons, “hosting the 2021 edition of the African Athletics Championships at this time will constitute a threat to the gains that have been made by the national response in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The 22nd edition of the African Athletics Championships was billed to hold in 2020 but was postponed to this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is yet to be known whether the CAA would go on to find another host city to ensure the Games are held before the Tokyo Olympics, or choose to cancel it.