By Seriki AdinoyiÂ in Jos
The President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Honour Sirawoo has condemned in the strongest terms and described as barbaric the alleged actions of Chairman of Plateau United Supporters Club, Mallam Audu and the clubâ€™s General Manager, Mr Pius Henwan, that led to the battering, assault and abduction of a sports presenter with Jay FM, Jos, Plateau State, Mr Mbum Ferdinand.
According to a statement from Jay FM Station Manager, Mangna Yusuf, Mr Ferdinand was abducted and taken to an unknown destination. However, it took spirited efforts from the station through its lawyer to get the journalist released on bail after he was traced to a police station in Jos.
Sirawoo described the alleged actions of the two club officials as â€œreckless, irresponsible, shameful and disgracefulâ€ to football administration in Nigeria, while calling on the Plateau State government, Nigerian Football Federation and League Management Company to apply appropriate sanctions on the suspected assailants.
According to him, nothing could have warranted the actions of the clubs officials who are entitled to right of reply if they felt the journalist didnâ€™t present the facts well, rather than resorting to self help in clear contravention of laws on human rights.
He commended the management of the radio station for their prompt action and the Plateau State Police Command for the timely release of Mr Mbum, whose only sin was to have reported issues around the club as part of his responsibilities as enshrined in Nigeriaâ€™s Constitution and international charters on human rights.
The SWAN president gave an ultimatum of 48 hours for the management of Plateau United Football Club to tender an unreserved apology to Mr Mbum, treat any injuries he may suffered in the process of his abduction, in addition to the accused officials being given appropriate sanctions.
In the interim, Mr Sirawoo has directed the national and the North Central secretariats of the Association to investigate the issues raised by its brutalised member, Mr Ferdinand Mbum, who has written to the leadership of the body, saying the findings will propel the next line of actions to be proffered by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of SWAN.
The angry SWAN boss said â€œenough of these brutalization, how many sports administrators have been abducted for wasting tax payers money, how many administrators have been brutalized for owing players or athletes allowances; how many administrators have been man handled for misappropriating funds, why must we be killed in the face of slightest provocation, when there are established legal procedures at any point of disagreementâ€.
While awaiting the outcome of investigation, Sirawoo urged sports journalists across Nigeria to re-examine their relationship with Plateau United pending investigation and the position of NEC, and solicited the support of its members in ensuring that this becomes the last attempt on the life of a sports journalist who hasnâ€™t been convicted of wrongdoing by a court of law.Â Â