Chineme Martins: NFF suspends investigative panel

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has suspended the activities of the investigative panel set up on the death of Nasarawa United FC player, Chineme Martins.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire.

“Following the current trend of events arising from the Covid-19 scourge, the panel has temporarily suspended its activities, including submission of its final report. This change in work plan has also been approved by the NFF leadership.

“Since the inauguration of this committee in Benin City on Monday, 16th March, members have been at work. We have inspected facilities in Benin City and Lafia, and spoken to personalities who were involved one way or the other in the organization 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 Hon. Minister on Thursday, 26th March 2020.

“We returned from Lafia on Tuesday morning, but have had to change our plans because of the trend of events and the pronouncement by His Excellency Mr. President himself, as well as other directives by the Federal Government. We are forced to suspend our activities,” chairman of the committee, Dr. Peter Singabele said.

Singabele added 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.

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

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.

It will be recalled the panel was inaugurated by Amaju Pinnick last week Wednesday while charging the panel to come up with robust and sincere recommendations that would constitute the standard protocols for football organization in the country going forward.

Pinnick said, “I am happy at the calibre of the people who make up the membership of this committee and I have no doubt you will come up with the right protocols that must be adhered to before any football match takes place anywhere in Nigeria. This is the time to make difficult decisions and I trust you to make them for us.

“Your job is a very serious one. You are free to tinker with the terms of reference and avail us the steps that will safeguard the future of our players in the areas of medical, safety and security. We pray that the soul of Chineme Martins rest in peace but we are pained by his death and we must use it as a wake-up call to enforce compliance with the provisions of Club Licensing as well as the fresh medical and security protocols that this committee will draw up.”

The panel was expected to submit its final report on Thursday, 26th March, 2020 to the Hon. Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, in Abuja.

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Olusola 'Jide

I'm an avid and seasoned sports/ multimedia journalist. I have a biased love for Real Madrid and passionate advocate for the overall growth of the Nigeria Sports Project. I can be reached on 09077894123 or/and 'info@thesportsbay.com'

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