Players of Taraba Football Club were assaulted by soldiers from the Nigerian army for protesting against their almost a year unpaid salary in Jalingo.
On Friday morning, the football players gathered before the Taraba State Government House and prevented anyone from entering their offices or getting inside the premises.
Taraba United players assaulted by soldiers. Amazing how very few people are concerned about this. Nigerian football is sick.
— Deji Kofi Faremi (@deejayfaremi) December 5, 2015
@DefenceInfoNG players of FC Taraba were being battered by the Army. Am wondering. Why batter ppl protesting with only football as weapon?
— Tokunbo Obazee (@tokitoks) December 5, 2015
Kelvin Njoku, the team captain, said the state government deliberately withhold the salaries and bonuses, despite the bailout given to them by the federal government.
The players were resolved to stay at the premises of the government house until the issue was resolved, and efforts of the many government officials who tried persuading them to leave failed.
Rebo Usman, chief of staff at the government house, Col. Wunike Agyo, special adviser to the governor on security, Mammud Abubakar, special adviser on rural development, Hassan Mijiyawa, chief protocol officer, were among the officials who could not enter their offices.
The Nigerian army soldiers attached to the Taraba State Government House then assaulted the players. The soldiers were armed with horsewhips and rifles, according to Sahara Reporters.
The Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria (APFON) has issued a statement, appealing to the Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company to react to the “inhuman and barbaric assault on the players for demanding for what they have laboured for over eleven months”.
“This is not the first time the players are asking for their entitlements. The players have eventually played the 2014/2015 season which has just ended on empty stomach.
“The Union will take appropriate steps as it deems fit through its legal department in demanding justice and fairness on behalf of the players. The players are not just sportsmen, they are also workmen with rights,” the statement read, in part.