By Marie-Therese Nanlong

To drive infrastructural development ahead of the Nigerian University Games Association, NUGA 2024, and provide a befitting sports facility, the Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa), has commenced the construction of a N250m sports complex in the University of Jos.

Recall that the University of Jos is hosting the NUGA 2024 which will take place towards the end of the year and efforts are being intensified by all stakeholders to have a successful event.

Speaking on Tuesday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the ASR Sports Complex situated at the Naraguta Campus of the University, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ASR Africa Initiative, Dr. Ubong Udoh said, “The ASR Africa is the brainchild of Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, it is a $100m annual fund for renewal and social development.

“Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu commits this sum every year to intervening and creating solutions in the areas of health, education, and social development. He is passionate about giving and also passionate about Africans and Nigerians taking responsibility over their problems, looking inwards and creating their solutions.”

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He commended the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, Professor Tanko Ishaya, and his team for meeting the target because the criteria for the qualification for the grant were very stringent, ensuring that the project was the beginning of an enduring partnership.

Udoh added, “The University was very proactive and sent an application even before we opened to receive proposals. This puts them high on the priority list, I congratulate you for your proactive leadership and we are glad to partner with the University to add value where there are gaps.

“The choice of a sports complex was very heartwarming. I believe we don’t just provide kids with a place to exercise and stay healthy but we have provided a platform for social cohesion, for building unity and character, building self-esteem, and becoming great citizens.”

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Tanko Ishaya noted that sports add great value to the economy and commended the organization for the intervention saying it was timely and would not only enhance the NUGA events but also present a platform for students’ self-discovery and improve talents in sports.

In his remark, the University of Jos Sports Committee Chairman, Professor Ishaya Pam appreciated the gesture and stressed that the NUGA event is expected to have an estimated 80 Universities in attendance and to attract no fewer than 9,000 athletes, officials and spectators to Jos for the first time in the history of the competition.

He stated, “Globally, University sports is the apex of amateur sports and these games will provide an opportunity for talent identification and provide a veritable springboard for Nigeria’s participation in international sporting events.

“With the collaboration of these eminent personalities and institutions, we are confident that the dream of hosting NUGA games will be actualised along with the vision of the University of Jos to positively impact sports development and education in Nigeria.”

The facility will feature a 252-seater spectator stand, changing rooms, a lawn tennis court, a basketball court, markings for multiple sports, conveniences, etc.