*As protesting players storm Govt. House
*Fight for your right, former chairman Nse Ubeh tells protesting players
Former players of Akwa United Football Club of Uyo on Monday protested over moves by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to change the original list of the players that were supposed to benefit from the promises by the State Governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel.
It could be recalled that after Akwa United had won the 2015 FA Cup, the Governor promised to give all the 34 registered players N2 million and a house each and 6 officials’ N3 million each and a house.
The protesting players, numbering over 10, early in the morning stormed the gate of the Government House with placards, demonstrating peacefully as well as expressed their anger and disappointment over the moves by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to change the list.
The protesting players include Kingsley Nathaniel, Saviour Abanga, Justice Ekpenyong, Lukman Abdullkarim, Solomon Bitrus, Okon Samuel and Nsikan Etim.
One of the players, Bawa Aliyu, said they were dropped after the 2015 season and that since they are no more in the team, they have had it from good authorities that their names were cancelled from the list of the beneficiaries of the N2 million and the house that was promised by Governor Udom Emmanuel two years ago.
He said they have met all the necessary authorities in Ministry of Youth and Sports and other sports stakeholders in the State, but it seems all efforts proved abortive.
He maintained that information reaching them has it that the money and the keys to the house are ready and would been given to only 22 players this week instead of 34 registered players and 6 technical crew members as was promised by the Governor during the reception of the players at the banquet hall some days after the finals.
The angry Aliyu also disclosed that they have been told that their names have been omitted from the list of the beneficiaries and that they would not benefit from any of the gift.
The former Akwa United striker noted that the original list of the beneficiaries have been changed completely by the officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports without any reason, adding that they took the decision to embark on the peaceful protest to inform the Governor of the development which they he described as injustice.
According to him, “the Governor that day announced that N2 million and a house would be given to all the 34 players and the 6 technical crew members, but it has come to our notice that it would be given to only 22 players and our names have been omitted from the list. We even learnt that papers to the house that were supposed to be given to the selected 22 players are photocopy documents instead of originals.”
The protesting players blamed the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Uko, for the omission of their names, saying that the Commissioner should explain to them why their names have not been included as beneficiaries.
Also speaking, Edidiong Stephen said they had met with the then club Chairman, Nse Ubeh, to discuss the matter, but the former Chairman told them that he had gotten his own that the players should fight for themselves to get theirs.
In his words, “we did not play the FA finals, but we were among the 34 registered players that the Governor promised to give the money and the house. In fact let me tell you that two days to the final match, the Governor gave all the 34 players N50,000 each for breakfast and we were part of the sharing formula. Why is it that our names not part of the list that will collect N2 million and the house? The Governor should come and help us.”
Repeated efforts made to speak with the Commissioner proved abortive as he was not picking up his call. A text message was also sent to the Commissioner’s phone, but there was no response.