FG`s directives on COVID-19 alters NFF investigative panel’s work plan

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Chineme Martin
Chineme Martin

THE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on Tuesday, said the work plan of its investigative panel on the death of Nasarawa United FC player, Chineme Martins had been altered.

The cancellation was a result of the directives of the Federal Government on the raging coronavirus outbreak.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the panel constituted by the NFF was expected to look into the circumstances surrounding the death of Nasarawa United FC player, Martins during a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match in Lafia on March 8.

The committee was mandated to investigate the medical, security and administrative lapses which led to the untimely demise of the defender.

Dr Peter Singabele, a former member of the NFF Executive Committee and member of the Committee on Sports Medicine of the Confederation of African Football, is the Chairman of the 12-man panel.

The committee was expected to submit its final report on Thursday to the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare in Abuja.

However, a statement by Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Communications, said following the current trend of events arising from the Covid-19 scourge, the panel had temporarily suspended its activities including submission of its final report.

It noted that the change in the work plan had also been approved by the NFF leadership.

The statement also quoted Singabele as saying that the members had been working tirelessly since the inauguration of the committee in Benin City on March 16.

“We have inspected facilities in Benin City and Lafia, and spoken to personalities who were involved one way or the other in the organisation of the match in which the player died.

“We have been able to extract useful information all round. Our plan was to submit the report to the minister on Thursday.

“We returned from Lafia on Tuesday morning, but have had to change our plans because of the trend of events and the pronouncement by Mr President himself, as well as other directives by the Federal Government,“ he said.

The chairman said that if the committee had a challenge in its job, it was the risk that members took to interact with people at this trying period in Nigeria.

“I won’t say strictly that there were challenges. If there was a challenge; it was that we took a big risk moving around at this time.

“We were bound to hold meetings and meet people and we could not tell who was infected at any time.

“We just have to observe preventive measures by returning to our homes and continuing to work from there,” he said.

The panel also assured members of the football family its findings and recommendations would be submitted as soon as the current health challenge is under control.

Other members of the committee include Amanze Uchegbulam, Chairman of the Imo State Football Association and former first Vice President of the NFF as well as respected technocrat Abba Abdullahi Yola.

Others are Dr. Paul Onyeudo, head of sports medicine of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports; Otunba Tade Azeez, President of the Nigeria Referees Association and Mr. Isaac Danladi, Chairman of NPFL club owners.

Alhaji Salihu Abubakar, Chief Operating Officer of the League Management Company, Commissioner of Police Umar Baba, Oladunni Oyekale, Francis Adejoh, Dr. Ibrahim Gyaran, and Miss Kisu Remi Sulola are the other members, with China Acheru as Secretary. (NAN)

– Mar. 24, 2020 @ 16:35 GMT |

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