The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) resumed for a new season after it went on a long and unusual break for seven months, with teams all over the country participating in the opening matchday – save teams with continental assignments and the newly promoted teams.
In what seemed to be a thing of the past, an unfortunate event in Jos marred the opening day of the 2018/2019 NPFL season when the officials were beaten by the home fans who were unsatisfied with the outcome of the match.
Reports from credible sources indicate that Centre Referee, Sam Agba and his colleagues, who were in charge of the encounter between Plateau United and visiting FC Ifeanyi Ubah, were beaten to a stupor and needed the help of emergency medical service the revive the referee.
Mimisen Iyorhe, who is an assistant referee with the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) condemned the act in a tweet on her handle, calling out the League Management Company (LMC) for being quick to caution referees but become laid back when the same referees are maltreated during an assignment.
However, the NRA
In a report released through its National Publicity Secretary, Kelechi Mejubi, the NRA pointed to the lack of protection of the referees as they were left to the mercy of the hoodlums who perpetrated the act.
“As at the time of this report, his health condition was said to be in critical state as medical attention was sought to revive him. The offence of the match officials cannot be divorced from the fact that the home side only failed to win with a draw outing thereby confirming earlier postulations of the NRA President that clubs are the bane of good officiating in Nigeria leagues,” the statement read.
“Once again, as the NRA awaits details of the Jos incident for further reactions, the President of the association states that no life of a referee is worth a league match in Nigeria for a member to suffer assaults. Media operators and other stakeholders are enjoined to join the campaign against attacks on referees at match venues to save the league.”
Meanwhile, both the LMC and Plateau United are yet to make any comments on the incident.