In a show of solidarity and concern for the safety of its members, the Alhaji Sani Zubairu-led Nigeria Football Referees Association (NRA) has expressed sadness over assaults against three referees during a NNL Southern Conference Group B4 match in the regular season match between Edel and Brillars football clubs at Awka City Stadium, Anambra state on Saturday.
In a statement by National Publicity Secretary, Chukwudi Ejimofor, the body said Charwal Wilfred, Asoluku Ihuoma and Uhuegbu Femi were severely brutalized during the encounter, adding that the incident left the referees hospitalized and sparked outrage among fellow officials and the wider public.
The statement which drew the attention of the Nigeria National Football League (NNFL) to the incident reads: “The NRA perceives the act to be one hooliganism too many.
“The act is not only barbaric but animalistic, as no sane human being will inflict such degree of injury to his fellow being in the posture of supporting a team”.
The NRA which accused the perpetrators of lacking knowledge of laws governing the game of football, pointed out that attacking match officials in a game that had not lasted up to five minutes could rightly be interpreted as premeditated.
While awaiting decision and action from the authorities of Nigeria National League, the referees emphasized the need for stricter penalties and harsher consequences for individuals found guilty of assaulting the three match officials.
“Once again, the NRA strongly condemns the incident and questions the level of security arrangement for the match.
“No reasonable leadership will allow its members to be so treated and the matter swept under the carpet”, it declared.