Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bayelsa Utd In N25.2m Hotel Services Debt

Following the exclusive report of on clubs heavily indebted in the top and lower tiers of the Nigerian league to players, officials and hotels, one of the clubs, Bayelsa United is reported to owe the sum of N25.2 million for hotel and catering services.
During the week, had reported that the debt of 18 clubs in the country currently stands at a whopping N765 million and the latest development is that titleholder of the Premier League, Bayelsa United, currently owes Eternal Bliss Nigeria Limited and Hotel Enor Splendour the combined sum of N25.2 million.
Documents from the lawyers of the two companies were made available on Wednesday afternoon.
In the first letter dated December 18, 2009 and directed to the Bayelsa United chairman, Victor Baribote Rumson, by the solicitor of Eternal Bliss Nigeria Limited, it was claimed that the Nigerian champion is indebted to the tune of N19.3 million.
The legal representative of the hotel, which directed its letter dated the chairman of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Electoral Committee chairman, also declared that the club owes its client N5.9 million as outstanding fees for accommodation and services from the hotel.
A breakdown of the debt owed Eternal Bliss Nigeria Limited shows that it provided an initial service to Bayelsa United between September 2008 and May 2009 to the tune of N12.5 million.
The catering firm also claimed that between June and November 2009, services worth N6.8 million bringing a total of the sum to N19.3 million.
Eternal Bliss Nigeria Limited through its lawyer has blamed the club for allowing it to incur default interest from Intercontinental and Diamond banks, which loaned it money for the business.
Initial attempts to speak to Rumson on the development did not materialize, as he furiously cut off the telephone on our man when the issue of the club’s indebtedness was brought to the fore.
But Bayelsa United spokesman, Ebi Avi, called on the issue and admitted that the club owes the firms but the amounts have been quoted more than the actual sum.
Avi also believes that Bayelsa United has suddenly become the target of the media in the wake of the forthcoming election into the NPL board due to hold this year.
“Bayelsa United like other clubs in the Premier League and the lower division is indebted to players and officials. But I can tell you that we have been paying the players their salaries up to date though we owe them some percentage of their signing-on fees. The figures that you have told me now do not reflect the true amount being quoted by the people because we are not owing up to that.
“Also, it is quite unfortunate that Bayelsa United has suddenly become the only club, which the media has focused on since our chairman declared that he would be contesting for a position in the Premier League board. We understand what is happening but I believe that there should be fair play in everything we do on and off the pitch,” Avi told
However, the management of Hotel Enor Splendour alleged that Bayelsa United left the premises of the hotel on November 20, 2009 under the pretence of honouring an away game and never returned.
It was also alleged that the Nigerian champion abandoned two of its buses in the premises of the hotel with one of the buses’ registration number being BY – 50 – A28 and in serviceable condition.
The owner of the hotel, Honourable Awudu Orovwigho Ode, was said to have called Rumson about the outstanding debt and he promised to pay when the Bayelsa State government makes fund available to the club.
But the management of the hotel was drawn to a report in one of the national sports daily that Bayelsa United had received the sum of N850 million from its sole financier, the Bayelsa State government, and decided to demand for payment through its lawyer.
Avi, however, cleared the air that recent reports in the media suggesting that Bayelsa State government had given the club money were untrue.
The hotel management has warned that if it may have to resort to disrupting the away games of the league champion to get its outstanding then it would explore that option if its solicitor fails to succeed in recovering the debt.

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