Clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League and the Nigeria National League have expressed concerns over the crisis and insecurity in the eastern part of the country, saying they have been playing matches in fears, The PUNCH reports.
There have been killings, attacks on government properties, police stations and schools, looting and destruction of properties in Imo, Anambra, Abia and Enugu states, which had led to government declaring curfew in some of the affected areas.
The incidents have caused panic among some key stakeholders in the topflight and second-tier leagues.
Speaking with The PUNCH, Chairman of NPFL side, Adamawa United, Emmanuel Zira, said he’s been scared stiff releasing his players for away matches in the East.
He said, “I have to be very honest, I’m scared and I already laid my complaints to the Chief Operating Officer of the NPFL. I told hTeam manager of Enugu Rangers, Amobi Ezeaku, says they’ve had one of their games rescheduled due to security concerns.
He said, “We update the LMC from time to time about our observations. For instance, our game against Ifeanyi Ubah last week was played earlier so that we could go back to Enugu in time.”
IfeanyiUbah club chairman, Chukwuma Ubah, Chairman of IfeanyiUbah, who are based in Nnewi in the eastern part of the country admitted that footballers in the region live in fear following the unrest.
He said, “The players are scared and worried; we had to bring our last game forward to 2pm. It wasn’t favourable but we needed to consider the players.
“We are just clubs and LMC will decide if matches will be moved away from the affected areas. But they are usually reluctant in taking a decision because they don’t understand what people go through and the risk involved, considering that the whole country is hot right now.
“Away teams travelling for matches are worried but the problem is that most of them are government-owned and are hell-bent on executing the matches just to have money in their pockets.”
Meanwhile, LMC spokesperson Harry Iwuala urged any concerned clubs to write officially to the league body.
“The clubs should write officially to LMC, let them show what they wrote to the LMC because they can’t be talking verbally,” Harry told The PUNCH.
“The last position we had with clubs was when they agreed that the league should continue after the prolonged break, a meeting was held and that was the last position agreed.
“If they want the league to stop they have the right to ask but not putting one side in the media. They should know that writing an official letter to LMC carries weight and when they do that it is also left for other clubs to agree because one or two clubs cannot decide for 20 clubs.”