By Albert Akota
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick yesterday inaugurated the ad-hoc committee set up by the football –governing body to investigate the death of Nasarawa United player Chineme Martins, charging the panel to come up with robust and sincere recommendations that will constitute the standard protocols for football organization in the country going forward.
“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.”
Pinnick and members of the committee, as well as NFF Executive Committee member Aisha Falode who was present at the inauguration observed a one- minute silence in honour of the departed Chineme Martins, who slumped and died during a Nigeria Professional Football League match between his club Nasarawa United and Katsina United at the Lafia City Stadium on Sunday, 8th March 2020.
Chairman of the committee, Dr. Peter Singabele, who is a member of the CAF committee on sports medicine, thanked the NFF President for the opportunity given the committee to take a very critical look at organization of football matches in Nigeria, pledging that with the experience, energy, assiduity and sincerity of members, the committee will draw up recommendations that will ensure that such lapses as led to the unfortunate death of Chineme Martins never recur in the country’s football.
The committee will also visit Lafia City Stadium for similar checks, before concluding its work and submitting its report to the NFF President.