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Female footballers barricade Cross River govt house over unpaid salaries

Female footballers barricade Cross River govt house over unpaid salaries
August 13
13:50 2020

Footballers of Pelican Stars, a Nigerian Women’s Football League side, have protested over 14 months unpaid salaries by the Cross River government.

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The players stormed the government house in Calabar, creating a blockage at the entrance to the office of Ben Ayade, the state governor, on Wednesday.

The footballers said the protest was necessary after months of plea to the state government for the payment of their salaries.

Speaking with Punch, Hodo Williams, the team’s captain, said the players would remain at the entrance until they get paid.

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Williams added that the team had met with Kombor Sam, chairman of the club, but all efforts have remained futile.

“We are owed 14 months’ salaries, this month (August) inclusive, and we will sleep at the entrance of the governor’s office unless we are addressed by Governor Ben Ayade or his deputy,” the captain said.

“We spoke to our chairman on Tuesday and it was the same old story. He said, “we want to meet the governor to grant his final approval for you to be paid.” But we are tired of waiting since last year.”

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Sam said payment recommendations had been fulfilled and papers sent to the governor’s office.

He added that what was left was Ayade’s approval.

“I’m also helpless because we have done all we were told to do. All we are waiting for now is the authorisation of payment and that only comes from the governor,” he said.

Reacting to the development, Offu Aya, the sports commissioner, said the ministry is also awaiting the governor’s approval for payment to be made to the players.

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He attributed the delay to the upcoming congress of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

“We started the process of getting their money before the People’s Democratic Party’s state Congress issues started, which took the governor’s attention,” he said.

“All I know is that congress will be concluded on Saturday, August 15. So, when it is concluded, they have no option than to pay the girls. The cash is there, I can attest to that.”

The protest comes as the second in the past weeks. In June, the players had expressed displeasure over their unpaid salaries.

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