It was a beehive of activities at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, Saturday morning, as staff of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and other MDAs engaged in aerobics and different fitness exercises.
The sporting activities were organized by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and other MDAs, in celebration of the 2023 Civil Service Week.
Addressing reporters at the event, the Sport Manager of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Kazeem Adewale Adenekan, said the exercise will help civil servants in boosting productivity, team work, inter personal skills, relationships and to keep fit, especially as many people were secluded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “We have 3-in-1 events today. The first is the celebration of the Civil Service Week, which is an annual event. This the 2023 edition organised by the Head of Service of the Federation and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo. It is also for the launching of the ministry’s sports kit, which was provided for the ministry through the support of the Perm Sec. The third is our monthly morning jogging. This is the July edition for civil servants. We are expected to come out every last Saturday of the month to exercise the body from 5:30am to 10am.
“You know that the ministry’s mandate is purely humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development. We can take a cue from the exercise because we have staff in different departments and the exercise will translate to productivity. In the Nigeria of today, we are graduating from the post COVID era where everyone was secluded from interactions. This is an opportunity to bring it back to the socialisation and interaction. It will also increase productivity, team work and inter personal skills relationship.
“Therefore, I will advise civil servants to take exercise seriously. You don’t want to get to the point whereby you will go to the hospital and the doctor will be telling you to go two miles every day. The vision of this is to make sure majority of civil servants exercise to keep fit and to ensure productivity. Civil servants must leave their comfort zone and exercise.
“Also, like NAPTIP DG said, sporting activities can be employed in reducing human trafficking. You cannot run a government without social sector and this exercise today is part of extracurricular activities. I know that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is also a sporting person and father of youths. I hope he will take up this and modify it. the Head of Service is also working hand in hand with the presidency and will develop whatever is happening now.”
Speaking earlier, the DG of NAPTIP, Prof Fatima Waziri-Azi, said that many human traffickers have been using sporting activities to lure victims outside the country and for parents to be careful.
She said: “We have many Nigerians in countries like Morocoo and Tunisia begging to come back home. NAPTIP has a regulation called The Trafficking in Person, Control of Activities and Centres Regulation 2019. So, if any sporting agent approaches you to say they have an opportunity for your child to either play football or participate in athletics abroad, the first question to ask him is if he has gotten his clearance certificate from NAPTIP.
“This is because the regulation 2019 gives NAPTIP the powers to control and issue clearance certificates to travel agents, sports operators and all sporting agents, all intending travellers leaving Nigeria for the purpose of labour recruitment, sporting or educational activities. NAPTIP has 24 hours call center 07030000203. We also have a short code 627, where you can report suspected human trafficking.”