By Amaechi Agbo
Following the successful hosting of two consecutive editions of the National Media Shooting Championship in Abuja with over one hundred participants, the Nigerian Shooting Sports Federation, NSSF, is making efforts to stage the first edition of Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS’) Media Shooting Championship
President of the NSSF, Brigadier General Lonsdale Adeoye (Rtd), disclosed this to the Media Office of the Federation today in Abuja.
General Adeoye said, “We (NSSF) are working on seeing that we host the West African sub-region for the Media Shooting Championship before the end of this year, and that will be the post-Coronavirus pandemic period.
“We have started making arrangements for that. And I want to assure sports journalists, especially in Nigeria, that the Nigerian Shooting Sport Federation will soon go into close discussion with national leadership of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, whose efforts enabled us to host two successful National Media Shooting Championships in 2018 and 2019 respectively in Abuja.”
The retired Army General explained the rationale behind hosting the championship.
“The reason we are planning to stage this first West African Media Shooting Championship is that the sport is relatively not known among the countries in the West African Sub-region, even though it is played in over 170 countries in the world. North Africans dominate this sport in Africa, so, there is the urgent need for the sub-region to be more informed in order to be carried along.
“We are hoping that when media participants from the other fifteen ECOWAS countries, and Nigeria as the host, take part in this championship, they will return back to their countries to retell the story in their own way and this will really help in creating awareness about the sport to the sub-regional citizens.
“Also, we want to start recruiting sports journalists who will distinguish themselves during the championship into our folds to represent Nigeria to win medals. These sports journalists won’t only shoot with their pen, but they will also literally shoot in the sport.”
The NSSF President revealed that he had already begun discussions with Presidents of the sub-region’s national federations, describing Nigeria as a fertile ground for the survival of shooting sport in West Africa as it’s blessed with abundant talents who can be global champions.
“When I echoed this idea to Presidents of the different national federations within the sub-region, they were so happy about it and they told me they were looking forward to it. Interestingly, too, the African Shooting Sport Federation (ASSF)and International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF)are putting their searchlight on us to know what next step we are going to take to actualize this noble course.
“Of great importance is that we (NSSF)want the world to know the potentials that abound in Nigeria, for the world to know that Nigeria is an emerging force, blessed with population, educational wherewithal, and capacity to achieve anything they so desire.
Asked why the NSSF has not started carrying out any programmes this year, General Adeoye said, after hosting an emergency board meeting last month (March), it was agreed that more emphasis should be focused on the publicity of the sport, organization of local shooting championships and massive grassroots talents hunt to enable the federation identify medal hopefuls for both national and international championships.
“Currently, we seeking the collaboration of well-meaning individuals and organizations to upgrade and expand the shooting the Shooting infrastructures to meet global best standard. We are also seeking the support of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to enable us achieve our set goals and objectives”, he expressed.
Shooting sports is a collective group of competitive and recreational sporting activities involving proficiency tests of accuracy, precision and speed in shooting which involves the art of using various types of ranged weapons in forms such as handguns, rifles, pistols and shotguns, paint ball game, laser run game, bows and or crossbows.