Aron Nigeria Limited, an indigenous engineering construction company, will on Tuesday start the repair of the long-abandoned football pitch of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The repair is funded by billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, in partnership with the sports ministry.
Aside the pitch re-grassing, the company will also put in shape the lighting and scoreboard of the arena.
The renovation is expected to be complete in 24 weeks.
A top ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the reconstruction works would have commenced earlier but were delayed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
“Finally, after all the legal processes and paperwork have been concluded, the contractor, Aron Nigeria Limited, will begin work at the main bowl tomorrow (Tuesday),” our source said.
The main bowl of the 60,000-capacity stadium, which was once home of the Super Eagles, has been left in a deplorable state for several years, thus forcing the national team to relocate to other venues across the country.
Immediately after his appointment as sports minister last August, Sunday Dare pledged to ensure the urgent rehabilitation of the stadium “in line with international best practice.”
He promised to get the pitch, tracks, water and other facilities inside the main bowl functional.
“We are going to be innovative to see how we can get extra funding, and how we can privatise the football pitch.
“I don’t want to put a timeline, but it’s sufficient to say that is right at the top of our agenda,
“Because we know it’s taking some time and Nigerians are interested to see Super Eagles play in Abuja, the stadium will be ready soon,” Dare had said.
Three months later, the minister announced that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, would bankroll the renovation of the main bowl of the Abiola National Stadium, including the football pitch, light and scoreboard, under the ministry’s Adopt-A-Pitch initiative.
Aron Nigeria Limited had previously handled major projects in the sports sector, including the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos; Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti; Gateway International Stadium, Ilaro; Dipo Dina International Stadium, Ijebu Ode; Kwara State International Stadium, Ilorin; Yaba College of Technology sports complex and the University of Lagos sports centre.