Report has it that a bus conveying FC Ifeanyi Ubah players got attacked by armed bandits allegedly wearing NYSC livery on Friday, on their way to Kano for a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 6 encounter against Jigawa Golden Stars.
The unfortunate incident is said to have occurred in a settlement a few miles from Lokoja in Kogi State.
This is the second time in five years that players of an NPFL side in transit for a game would be attacked. In March, 2015, the BBC reported five players from Kano Pillars were wounded by gunmen on their way to Owerri for their opening game.
The Nnewi club are billed to face Jigawa Golden Stars at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Sunday although there is no word yet from the club or the League Management Company if the fixture will still hold after this incident.
However, Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP,Anambra) has raised the alarm over the state of insecurity on Nigerian roads and called on the federal government to secure Nigerian roads.
In a press release made available to newsmen on Friday, the Anambra lawmaker narrated how players and officials of the Nnewi based FC Ifeanyi Ubah were attacked by armed robbers dressed in National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) uniform at Kabba Junction along Okene-Lokoja Highway in Kogi state of Friday with the driver of their bus, coaching crew and some players sustaining gunshot wounds.
“This is to inform the general public that at about 1:30pm today, players of FC Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra Warriors) who were travelling to Kano for their scheduled NPFL match day 6 fixture against Jigawa Golden Stars ran into a group of armed robbers dressed in NYSC uniforms, operating at Kabba junction, near Lokoja in Kogi state.
“To the glory of God, no life was lost. However, the driver was shot while some members of the coaching crew and players were critically injured. The affected persons are currently being treated and are responding to treatment,” the lawmaker stated.
Decrying the scary experiences of road travelers in Nigeria, Senator Ubah urged the federal government of Nigeria and relevant sport authorities to intensify efforts in securing Nigerian local football teams who often travel by road for their games in far-flung places across Nigeria as a way of encouraging investment confidence in the local league.
“We wish to use this medium to appeal to the Federal Government as well as football regulatory bodies; Nigerian Football Federation(NFF) and the League Management Company (LMC) to further intensify security efforts to ensure the safety of teams who often have no choice than to travel long distances by road, especially clubs owned by Private investors who are made to invest their hard earned money in the growth and development of Nigerian football.” He said.