Despite a recent report that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Muhammad Musa Bello, has barred free grazing by Fulani herdsmen in the nation’s capital, a new report by New Telegraph states that the herdsmen have invaded Abuja national stadium, turning it into grazing ground for their cattle.
A security official attached to the stadium, told correspondents that the Fulani herdsmen who usually invade the stadium in groups to feed their cattle, sometimes overwhelms him if he tries to stop them from their activities, especially at the Package B section of the stadium.
“It has been a routine for these herdsmen to herd their cows to this place for grazing, especially in the last one year. They invade the stadium at will and it seems nobody is ready to stop or caution them.”
The stadium manager, Mr. Sati Mbok, when contacted said the management has been making frantic efforts to stop the herdsmen, but they have rather continued to increase in their numbers.
It was however gathered that the herdsmen, who are usually armed with some dangerous weapons, have become a source of concern to those who are managing the expansive stadium.
The investigations by New Telegraph also revealed that beyond the challenge posed by these herdsmen, under utilization and poor maintenance culture has turned the $300 million Abuja National Stadium into an abandoned edifice, with many of its key facilities rusting away and a huge chunk of the expansive sports complex overgrown with weeds.
The multi-million-dollar edifice was built when Nigeria hosted the 8th All Africa Games in 2003 (COJA), 13 years ago, but has become a shadow of itself over time.
The Stadium hardly hosts events since most of the sports federations took their activities outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they would enjoy corporate sponsorships due to lack of funds.
Other part of the stadium is said to now be inhabited by some poor Nigerians who use it as their shelter in the face of lack of accommodation in the FCT.