By Victor Kanayo
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Refereeing Development Committee/Unit has announced suspension of 14 referees reported to have been involved in suspicious activities while officiating matches.
The referees caught in the suspension web, Heritage Times HT gathered, were among those who officiated the various Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) so far this season.
So far, seven matches have been played in the ongoing league with numerous home wins.
Already, fans and other stakeholders have complained of foul play in some games following alleged bizarre performances by the match officials.
The NFF referees’ committee in rolling out preliminary suspension for the culprits in a statement dated November 6, 2023, confirmed that the move was in response to concerns regarding the perceived poor performances of the match officials in several NPFL matches.
According to the statement, the match officials affected will be subjected to further investigation and those found wanting would face further disciplinary measures.
Full List Of Suspended Referees
The referees involved so far include Bawa Buhari who officiated Niger Tornadoes vs Rivers United matchday 2 game, Chukwuka Jahlove incharge of Niger Tornadoes vs Bayelsa United matchday 4, with referee Chukwuka Jahlove and Assistant Referee Akinwale Tomiwa also involved.
There is also assistant referee Zachariah Nde who was part of Sporting Lagos vs Niger Tornadoes on matchday 5 and referee Saeed Abdulaziz and assistant referee Jimmy Aimugbonrie who both featured during Gombe United vs Plateau United on matchday 5.
Also, referee Brown Ebenezer and assistant referee Atuwho Morrisson who both handled Kwara United vs Sporting Lagos matchday 6 were caught in the under-performance web.
Then NFF referees’ committee also revealed that all four match officials involved in the Sunshine Stars vs Abia Warriors matchday 6 are indicted, just as referee Imamu Maliki and assistant referee Sunday Azi for Bendel Insurance vs Remo Stars matchday 7.
To harvest more evidence, the committee has called for the submission of the full video recordings of the matches the suspended referees took part in a bid to facilitate a comprehensive evaluation of the officials’ performances.