By Oboh Benjamin
In a startling revelation, Bayelsa United has raised concerns over the unauthorized use of three of its players by two prominent Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) clubs, Rivers United and Lobi Stars.
The Yenagoa-based club took to social media on Monday evening to express their concerns releasing a poorly-worded statement.
The controversy unfolded during the ongoing Naija Super 8 tournament at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium in Lagos, where Bayelsa United’s Alex Oyowah and Osagie Onisodumeya played for Rivers United. The use of these players has been deemed a violation of rule nine and the established framework of the NPFL, according to the statement.
In the official statement, Bayelsa United expressed its disappointment with Rivers United, questioning the club’s decision to feature players who are under valid contracts with Bayelsa United. The statement further accuses Rivers United and Lobi Stars of inducement and breaching rules 9:39:1 and 9:39:2, which govern player transfers in the NPFL.
To address the severity of the situation and deter future occurrences, Bayelsa United has called for exemplary damages against Rivers United and Lobi Stars. The club is seeking compensation for 1,000,000,00 Naira (One Million Naira only) as a penalty for the breach of contract and the ensuing damage caused.
Bayelsa United clarified that players Osagie Onisodumeya, Alex Oyowah, and Taiwo Adbulrafiu remain under valid contracts with the club, making their appearances in the colours of Rivers United and Lobi Stars illegal.
The controversy surrounding the unauthorized possession of players has sent shockwaves through the Nigerian football community. The NPFL, along with various football authorities, is expected to launch an investigation into the matter to ensure that fair play and contractual obligations are upheld in the league.
Both Rivers United and Lobi Stars are yet to respond to the allegations made by Bayelsa United. As the football community waits for the verdict, questions about the transparency and integrity of player transfers in Nigeria’s football landscape have once again come to the forefront.