Fitness club protests ‘forceful eviction’ from Stadium by Anambra Sports Commission

Members of Trinity Fitness Club, Onitsha protesting
Members of Trinity Fitness Club, Onitsha protesting

The members of Trinity Fitness Club, Onitsha, have called on Governor Willie Obiano to look into their alleged illegal and forceful eviction from the Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium by officials of the Anambra Sports Development Commission (ASDC).

Philip Okonkwo, Caretaker Committee Chairman of the fitness club, who spoke to journalists described the act as uncalled for as the outfit was financially up to date and carried themselves in line with the rules guiding the facility.

The ASDC in a letter signed by its chairman, Tony Oli, on September 23 had issued a directive that Trinity Fitness Club stood ejected and stopped from operating within the premises of Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha.

The eviction order is contained in a letter entitled “Letter of Ejection From Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha”.

The Sports Commission said that “following the acts of indiscipline, unruly behaviour and blatant disregard to constituted authority, I wish to inform that the club is hereby ejected from operating within the premises of Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha.

“The money you paid to the Stadium Manager will be returned to you in full at the return of the original receipt issued to you,” it said.

But Mr Okonkwo said the reasons for ASDC ejection order was vague and unfounded, noting that the action of the commission was based on its bias on issues which were internal to the club over its leadership.

The caretaker chairman of the club with at least 105 members said the club invested over a million Naira to put the space they were using since 2018 in shape, while their tenancy remained valid till July 2020.

“Trinity Fitness Club, Onitsha, was allocated a portion to build a stand in Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium where we spent millions of Naira to build in June 2018 with a one-year rent fee which expired in July 2019.

“We are shocked to receive an eviction notice from Tony Oli on Sept. 23 in spite our existing rent of N180,000 on our own built stand in Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium which will till July 2020.

”The club is calling on Gov. Willie Obiano to intervene in the alleged injustice and save the teeming Anambra sporting community from inhibitive actions of the ASDC.

”The club insists that its tenancy at the stadium was still valid and that there was no basis for the ill-informed eviction.”

He said the ASDC should not make itself a willing tool of vindictiveness in the hands of individuals against a greater number because of personal relationships.

“We call on Gov. Willie Obiano to please look into this matter and also call his sports Director, Tony Oli to order,” he said.

Reacting, Mr Oli dismissed the protest as a mere public show, saying the club incurred the eviction due to its lawless as there were other clubs using the stadium.

“Making a public show will not help you, your lawlessness earned you ejection from the stadium.

“Based on your unrepentant attitude in spite of several warnings and my several visits to the stadium, the commission decided to excuse you from the stadium so that we can maintain peace and order.

“You have been advised officially through the letter, to go to the stadium manager and get back your refund for any payment your group has made towards stadium security and maintenance,” he said.

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