Unpaid for seven months, Ondo footballers lay siege to Mimiko

Protesters, police argue at the gate of the governor's office in Akure

Footballers employed by the Ondo State Football Agency protested non-payment of seven months salaries at the governor’s office on Wednesday.

Mr. Mimiko was holding a meeting with members of his cabinet when the protesters came, blocking the entrance of the complex with their vehicles.

The male and female footballers, Sunshine Stars and Sunshine Queens, complained that the staff of the agency were owed 14 months salaries while the players have not been paid for seven months.

According to one of the players, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, the state had also failed to pay the sign-on fees of the player, which ought to have been paid this February.

He said officials of the football agency complained that payment of any kind was becoming difficult because the Accountant General of the state had been “missing” and there was no one to sign the papers for the release of the funds.

The players expressed fears that with just one day to the end of the Mimiko administration, their monies may not be paid after all.

They became more restive when the governor or any of the commissioners refused to address them.

Police officers who were drafted to handle the situation fired teargas to disperse the protesters.

Two female players passed out in the process and were rushed to a nearby hospital due to the intensity of the gas.

“They have decided to shoot us, let them throw teargas and bullets, we have not been paid and we will not leave here today,” a player cried out from the crowd.

Some of the players who were further angered by the action of the police, assailed the mobile police officers resulting in shoving and pushing between them.

The police area commander, O.I. Durosimi, pleaded with the players, who returned to their barricade, to calm down as they had registered their grievances and further aggression could result in harm.

The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Femi Adekanbi, later tried to persuade the players to stay off the entrance in order to keep them from attacking the convoy of the governor when going out.

He promised that the government would take their case up and ensure they were paid.

The players listened to the commissioner and moved across the road facing the gate, but insisted they would remain there until the governor took action to resolve the problem.

At the time of filing this report, the governor and the commissioners were still held up in the governor’s office, while the players laid siege.

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