World soccer ruling body, FIFA is set to begin a thorough investigation of the pitch invasion that occurred after the Nigeria-Ghana World Cup qualifier played at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
It will be recalled that the home fans reacted angrily after the Super Eagles were eliminated from qualifying on the away goals rule following a 1-1 draw in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Ghanaian players and staff were pelted with water bottles from the stands as they left the pitch at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, and Nigeria supporters then invaded the pitch.
The crowd had overturned and damaged two dugouts before tear gas was used and police hit out at fans with batons.
According to bbc.com, FIFA is analysing the official match report, and will then decide if action will be taken against the Nigeria Football Federation.
“The relevant information included in the match reports will be evaluated by the competent disciplinary bodies before deciding on the next steps to be taken,” a FIFA statement added.
Reports had emerged on Thursday that FIFA had indefinitely banned Nigeria from hosting international matches at the newly renovated Moshood Abiola National Stadium turf.
However, those reports have been debunked by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), but it is believed that a conclusion of the investigation would define the weight of sanctions against Nigeria for the breach of security.
Only on Thursday, Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Sunday Dare said he had set up two committees to investigate the cause of the pandemonium at the Stadium.
Dare while inaugurating the committee led by DIG Sanni Mohammed (Retd) noted that the failure of Nigeria to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup is not only regrettable but also left millions of football-loving Nigerians unhappy and angry, making them ask for changes, it is not enough to condone the acts of vandalism and destruction of public infrastructures like the Moshood Abiola Stadium, built with taxpayers money and the benevolence of private individuals.
“The Federal Government will not sit by and allow individuals, no matter their ages to just wilfully damage and destroy Federal Government Infrastructure especially a public infrastructure like the Moshood Abiola National Stadium. Therefore, this afternoon, I want to inaugurate this committee on the acts of vandalism and destruction of the Stadium. This committee will have two weeks to conclude its assignment and submit its report.
“It is an investigative committee and they will be given necessary access to the stadium, they will be provided with the CCTV footage, they will have access to every relevant person connected with the football match and also the Ministry, Nigeria Football Federation(NFF)and other relevant agencies,” the Minister added.
The terms of reference of the Committee include unravelling the remote and immediate causes of the incident; determining the extent of the destruction; investigating the security arrangement and the role of security generally; identifying the culprits; identifying victims where we have them; making recommendations on how to prevent future occurrence, not just for the Moshood Abiola Stadium but all stadia across the country in terms of crowd control after the games, amongst others.
In his response, the Chairman of the Committee, DIG Mohammed(Retd)thanked the Minister for finding members of the committee worthy of the national assignment, promising they will discharge their responsibilities without fear or favour, and assist the nation to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate incident.
Other members of the investigative committee are Dr Henry Nzekwu(vice-chairman), Commodore Omatseye Nesiama(Retd), Alhaji Abba Yola, Dr Simon Ebhojiaye, Mrs Tayo Oreweme, Mr Mitchell Obi, a representative of the Director-General of the Department of State Security(DSS) and Mr Olumide Bamiduro, who will be the secretary.
The committee has two weeks to turn in their report.