LMC Reacts To Violence At Abia Derby

The League Management Company has reacted to the issues of insecurities that plagued a matchday 20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game between Abia Warriors and Enyimba.

The reaction was part of resolutions reached at the end of the mid-season review meeting of the NPFL 2019/20 season between LMC officials and officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, Nigeria Referees Association, NFF Referees Committee and the NPFL Club Owners Association.

In a statement issued by the media department of the LMC at the end of the meeting, the league body said it was planning to use “a specialised police squad” during NPFL matches to curb violence at match venue.

The most recent clash was between rival fans at the Abia derby in Umuahia, which left Enyimba chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu injured.

Members of the National Youth Service Corps and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps will also to used to ensure orderliness at match venues according to the LMC.

“It was also resolved that the NFF and LMC will open communication channels with the Police high command with a view to having continuous interface with the office of the Inspector-General of Police with the long term objective to set up a specialised police squad for football matches security management,” part of the statement read.

“The meeting also endorsed a proposal by the LMC to create a volunteer stewards corps that will be made up of NYSC members, who will function to deepen orderliness in the stands.

“To this end, the LMC was mandated by the meeting to interface with the Director General of NYSC and that of the NSCDC to enlist the support and services of the agencies in ensuring orderliness match venues through effective stewardship.”

According to LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, majority of the violence experienced in the NPFL were as a result of local rivalries.

“Though no security breaches and threat to public order should be tolerated and assoaciated with the beautiful game, it’s noted that all three incidents had to do with local rivalries between clubs that share geographical proximity and have had running supremacy claims by their fans.

“In Lafia, it was a North Central derby between Nasarawa United and Plateau United, Katsina was a North West derby between Katsina United and Kano Pillars, while in Umuahia, we had the Abia derby between Abia Warriors and Enyimba International”, Dikko said.

The LMC boss hinted that a minimum of 100 policemen would be requested for match security duties in addition to other security personnel.