NPFL: Rebellious Plateau United Linked With Alleged Assault On Match Officials

If the League Management Company (LMC) had hoped to teach Plateau United a lesson in not assaulting match officials by banishing them from the Jos International Stadium, those lessons appear to have made absolutely no impact as fans and club officials allegedly led an assault on match officials who officiated their barren draw against Kano Pillars today in Lafia where they have been temporarily sent to play home games.

A source with intimate knowledge of events following the end of the match at the Lafia Township Stadium told that centre referee Ndubuisi Ukah, his assistants Samuel Pwadutukam and Moruf Aromona and fourth official A. Lamido were harangued by players and club officials of Plateau United after the goalless draw after which fans allegedly affiliated with the club and taking their cue from the players and officials allegedly attacked the match officials as they ran to the dressing room where they remained “holed up” for hours in fear for their lives.

“After today’s match in Lafia where Plateau United was relocated for the second home [match] against Kano Pillars, some players of Plateau and management members rushed at the referees and started abusing the referees. On their way to the dressing room supporters stated beating them with sticks and dangerous weapons until they ran into the dressing and holed up there,” the source said.

The source identified Salomon Junior, Kabiru Umar and Ibeh Johnson as being among the Plateau United players that initially harassed the match officials before the fan assault.

These latest developments should trouble the LMC who only two weeks ago meted out a series of sanctions to Plateau United for the actions of their fans in assaulting match officials in the wake of their goalless draw against FC Ifeanyiubah on matchday one.

The club was fined N5m, docked a suspended three points and banished to play their next three home games in Ilorin. After playing just one game in Ilorin, a two-nil victory against El Kanemi, the LMC handed them a reprieve and acceded to the club’s request to play closer to their base as a result of which they were directed to play the remaining two home league games in Lafia.

It now appears that that reprieve has been abused and that regardless of where the club plays, they seem to take their penchant for being associated with attacks on match officials following a less than desirable result with them.

The LMC and Nigeria Referees Association are yet to make any statements on the issue although it is expected that they will once the match officials submit their report.

If the charge of assault on match officials is proven against Plateau United, the club would stand to forfeit three points for being second time offenders this season in addition to whatever further punishments the LMC metes out.