The Nigerian Navy has pledged to collaborate with the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in sports development.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, made the pledge while receiving a merit award conferred on the Nigerian Navy by SWAN.
The award was in recognition of Nigerian Navy’s contributions to sports development in the country, both in the past and currently.
Congratulating SWAN on a successful Full Council Meeting, Ibas said sports writers have over the years remained the Navy’s very formidable ally when it comes to sports development in the country.
“Sports journalists are very critical members of the nation’s sporting family who must not be treated with levity,’’ he said.
Speaking further, the Chief of Naval Staff noted that sports have shifted from a mere instrument of recreation to a huge income-earner which has equally helped in national and international integration.
“The rate of crime will also reduce if we engage the youths in sporting activities,’’ he added.
Earlier, SWAN President Honour Sirawoo had said the Association decided to honour various individuals and organisations, especially the military and security outfits because of their contributions to the country’s sports development.
“Sports writers, as the society’s watchdog in sports, would continue to keep to their unique responsibility of holding governments at all levels accountable on behalf of the people,’’ he said.
Sirawoo also advised that government and its agencies could add value to the sector’s development by investing energy and finances in areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage over others.
“For a very long time, Nigeria has concentrated on oil revenue forgetting that there are other gold mines like the sports sector which has the capacity to gainfully engage millions of youths if properly harnessed,’’ he said.
SWAN gave awards to various organisations during its National Full Council Meeting at the Yankari Games Reserve on Thursday.
These included the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, the National Lottery Trust Fund, the League Management Company and Channels Television.
SWAN which also made Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State its National Patron equally honoured the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, at the occasion.