Bauchi State government has disclosed plans to boost patronage of Nigeria’s foremost Games Reserve, the Yankari Resort and Safari, through sports.
Boasting of some 52 different animal and bird species, some of them rare, the reserve has not matched its famed status with adequate revenue generation for the state.
But Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Nuhu Gidao ,said all that will soon come to an end as the state government is considering other avenues to attract visitors to the resort.
Declaring open the 2015 Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, Gidao said the state has invested heavily in the resort and would stop at nothing to ensure that it yields the desired benefit to people of the state.
He said the government is exploring possibility of developing a golf course within the reserve, as well as building camp facilities for other sports so as to attract wide variety of visitors, adding that the reserve, which is famous for its warm spring, would serve the need of sports enthusiasts.
While commending the NOC for bringing its AGM to the resort, the deputy governor urged other sports federations present at the event to exploit Baluchi’s peaceful and serene environment by holding their championships and tournaments in the state.
Earlier in his welcome address, President of NOC, Habu Gumel, had stressed the strong tie between sports and tourism, and urged the state to exploit sports as a veritable platform to sell the resort to the world.
Meanwhile, Gumel has tasked presidents of sports federations whose sports have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to redouble their effort in ensuring sustained preparation of their athletes.
He warned that it would be a monumental embarrassment to the country should Nigeria return from Rio empty handed after the shameful London outing.
“I am pleading to all us to redouble our effort in not just qualifying for Rio but to go there and win medals. We must not allow what happened in London to repeat itself. Even if it is to snatch medals in our sports, let us go there and do it, “ he stressed.

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