Monday, March 22, 2010

Commotion In Minna, As Police Saves Ref

Following the goalless draw between Niger Tornadoes and Bayelsa United over the weekend in a Premier League tie, there was an uproar at the Minna Stadium before policemen attached to the stadium intervened. understands that the centre referee, Gabriel Adigwe from Lagos State, was threatened by some irate fans of the club in Minna before the encounter.
It was learnt that the referee was warned of the implication of a draw at the stadium by some fans of the club, which he took with a pinch of salt.
But by half-time, referee Adigwe had alleged that some of the fans had made attempts to attack him due to the scoreline remaining goalless and he had to escape into the dressing room.
On resumption for the second half, Adigwe also claimed in an interview with that he heard a number of fans warning him that if Niger Tornadoes does not win in last Saturday’s game he should consider himself in trouble.
But the match official said he went on with his duty and refused to be cowed by the threats from the stands.
“I have experienced this kind of treatment before, so I didn’t feel intimidated. Before the start of the match, some of the fans threatened me and I thought it was a normal thing that usually happens at our league match venues, so I wasn’t bothered. But at the end of the first half, someone threw a bottle of water at me from the stands and I had to run into the dressing room because I realized that the crowd was bent on carrying out their threats,” he began.
Adigwe also asserted that at the end of the match, he was attacked by a mob in the stadium and soundly beaten alongside one of his assistants while the security personnel in the stadium did nothing to save him.
However, the assistant media officer of Niger Tornadoes, John Adams, informed our correspondent that Adigwe and his assistants were never attacked by the fans though he admitted that an attempt was made to that effect.
Adams also gave a detailed account of how the incident took place inside the stadium in Minna.
He said: “Sincerely there was an incident at the end of the game where some fans tried to assault the referee but I must also tell you that in all of Niger Tornadoes’ home matches, the management always makes sure that there is heavy presence of security men that includes mobile policemen in the stadium. Remember that our chairman (Suleiman David) is a former board member of the Nigerian FA and he knows the importance of making sure that our stadium is secured for league games.
“Trouble actually started at the end of the game when a supporter of our club tried to attack the referee. Surprisingly, the person is the chairman of our supporters’ club (Ahmed Ibrahim Katun). He could not carry out his attempt of attacking the referee because he was arrested by the policemen, and that was where other fans of the stadium tried to invade the pitch but the police stopped them and the centre referee and his assistants were saved from harassment.”
In a swift reaction to the happenings in Minna, the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has sanctioned Tornadoes by fining the club to the tune of N1 million while Katun and another supporters’ club member, Abdulrasheed Yusuf, have been placed on indefinite suspension from all NPL-organised games.
The Executive Secretary of the NPL, Alhassan Yakmut, expressed displeasure at the incident saying: “I’m totally displeased with the incident in Minna and this is becoming a recurrent decimal and shall necessitate stiffer disciplinary measures including banishment which shall further be placed on any club found wanting.”
Yakmut said the decision to sanction Niger Tornadoes was taken in consonant with Articles 4.2(i), 5.6 and 5.8 of the Premier League rules and regulation.

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