From Francis Nanasak,Lafia
Nasarawa State government and players of the Nasarawa United Football Club feeder team have resolved the standoff over alleged unpaid allowances to the players.
Bamaiyi Anangba, the State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development made this known after holding a meeting with representatives of the players in Lafia on Thursday.
The AUTHORITY reports that the players had on April 30th embarked on a ‘peaceful protest’ around Lafia, the state capital alleging non-payment of their “eight months salaries” and “arbitrary termination” of their contract, which according to them, would end by April, 2018.
Addressing newsmen, Anangba said the standoff was resolved after careful presentations of the facts of the matter to the players’ representatives.
“The Ministry did not arbitrarily disband the team without due process. It received a report from the management of Nasarawa United in collaboration with the technical crew of the Feeder Team on October 17, 2017 requesting that the team be reconstituted due to underperformance and truancy by players.
According to the report, some of the players were only collecting salaries but not appearing for trainings or matches as they were alleged to be schooling in some parts of the country.
“Then, we set up a committee to investigate the allegations. And we found out that the allegations were true, as out of the 67 players in the payroll of the Feeder Team, only less than forty were attending trainings and playing matches.
“As a Ministry, we can’t squander government money on non-existing projects. And the management of the club made a request to us that for things to stabilize in the team, certain measures should be taken. And we did as they requested. So we followed the recommendations of the management of the team,” he said.
The Commissioner also clarified the issue of non-payment of salaries which according to him, was also resolved after explaining to the players that the ministry had officially notified the team through the coaches that the team stands dissolved from the month of October 2017 and henceforth will no longer be paid till the formation of a new feeder team.
“As a Ministry, we felt they laboured for the month of October and therefore deserved their salaries for that month.
“But even before that payment, they were officially notified through their coaches that the Feeder Team would cease to be beginning from the month of October, pending the formation of a new one, which by inference, means the team had been disbanded.
“Now, tell us, why would you be asking for salaries for the months the team ceased to exist? By the way, this is a contract, and it comes with a clause. Which means it can be terminated at any time any of the party deems necessary.
“We made October payment to the number of players that were physically screened and they were about thirty-five. Anyone who was part of this number but didn’t receive his alert (credit) should come forward for the verification via the salary voucher and such a player would be instantly paid,” Anangba explained.
He added “So just today after sitting with them where they presented their facts and we brought in our facts, they discovered that all they did was wrong because in the first place we followed due process. They were so apologetic and said they were very sorry for whatever they have done.
“I only dissolved them on the recommendation of the management of Nasarawa United. The coaches wrote their report to the management of Nasarawa United and the management forwarded the report to me. Due process was followed.”
Anangba then revealed that plans to bring a new set of feeder team have reached advanced stages, noting that equal opportunities will be accorded to all applicants irrespective of tribe and location.