NFF’s Committee Submits Damning Report on Why Nasarawa Utd’s Player Died

Chineme Martins

Duro Ikhazuagbe

The Adhoc Committee on Safety and Security set up by the Nigeria Football Federation ((NFF) to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of Nasarawa United’s player, Chineme Martins in March, 2020 submitted its report to the federation yesterday with damning revelations.

The Committee headed by respected Member of CAF’s Committee on Sports Medicine, Dr Peter Singabele, while submitting the report in a virtual conference to NFF’s President, Amaju Pinnick, revealed that Nasarawa United had neither a medical doctor nor a physiotherapist at the stadium on the day Martins collapsed and died during a NPFL home game at the Lafia Township Stadium.

“Instead, Nasarawa United had a retired community health assistant heading its medical team. And this led to the mismanagement of the rescucitation process of Martins,” revealed the report.

It also noted that there was no functional ambulance stationed at the stadium on that fateful day.

“There was no functional ambulance at the stadium as at the time of the incident, which led to a faulty evacuation process, and the player died before he could reach the hospital and; Nasarawa FA and Nasarawa United FC failed in their duties to put in place emergency medical services for the match,” stressed the report.

Although the report admitted its handicap in getting an autopsy carried out on the late footballer due to the refusal of the family of the late footballer to release the body for the physical examination, it recommended that to forestall a repeat of such unnecessary death on Nigerian pitches, all clubs should have a minimum of one qualified medical officer and a physiotherapist.

“All club players must undergo mandatory PCMA in line with CAF and FIFA standards; clubs must keep adequate medical records of players and officials and; there must be mandatory pre-season basic medical screening.”

It also recommended things that home teams must provide before games should start; safety and security precautions to be assured by the State Football Association.

It recommended the temporary suspension of the club from all NFF organised competitions.

“The Nasarawa FA should be temporarily suspended from hosting all NFF-organized matches (including domestic league matches) until some clearly stated conditions are met.

“The player (Martins) must be immortalized. Nasarawa United FC should pay a fine of N10million to the LMC for non-compliance with Club Licensing Regulations and violation of NPFL Framework and Rules, and should pay all financial entitlements of the late Martins immediately, including arrears of salaries and insurance benefits, if any.”

While receiving the report in a virtual presentation, NFF President, Pinnick, praised the efforts of the federation’s Adhoc Committee on Safety and Security for a good job.

Pinnick was categorical that the country’s supreme football –governing body would study the nitty-gritty of the committee’s recommendations with a view to implementing all.

“I want to give kudos to the Chairman and Members of this committee for the thorough job they have done. I am not surprised because we brought together perhaps the best team possible in the land for such an assignment.

“Your job was made more arduous given that it was at a time of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, and at a time, it was only your committee that was doing any work in football. Yet, you never wavered in painstakingly attending to every detail of the assignment.”

The NFF boss said that the Federation would convey the full report, after it must have been signed by the members and at the resumption of football activities in the country, to the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare.

He also assured that the NFF will compel all the relevant organs concerned with security, safety and medical protocols at domestic matches to up their game, while insisting that any club that fails to comply one hundred per cent with the requirements of the Club Licensing regulations will be barred from competing in the league.

“If at the end of the day, we have to scale down to playing league matches in only a few stadia that can provide functional ambulances and qualified medical personnel with capable referral hospitals, so be it,” he concluded

Membership of the Committee include: Dr. Peter Singabele (Chairman); Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam (Member); Alh. Ibrahim Musa Gusau (Member); Alh. Abba Yola (Member); Otunba Tade Azeez (Member); Dr. Paul Onyeudo (Member); Mallam Salihu Abubakar (Member); Dr. Ibrahim Gyaran (Member); Mr. Tijani Babangida (Member); Mr. Francis Adejoh (Member); Mr. Oladuni Oyekale (Member); Mr. Ademola Olajire (Member); Miss Remi Kisu Sulola (Member); Mr. China Acheru (Secretary).