ANSG overrules ban of sports commission’s staff from football activities

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The Anambra Government has overruled the ban slammed on a staff member of the State Sports Development Commission (ASSDC), Chijioke Onyedika, from football activities. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chairman of the State Football Association (AnSFA), Chikelue Ilonenyosi, had on Monday placed a ban on Onyedika for allegedly engaging in “anti-football activities”. He alleged that Onyedika “assumed the duties and responsibilities of the AnSFA, by organising illegal football tournaments not approved by the state FA. “The board of Anambra FA has taken the decision to ban you from participating in all football activities in Anambra for five years. “You are warned to desist from appearing on any football pitch or around the stadium in the state because the law enforcement agencies will enforce this ban,” Ilonenyosi stated in a letter to Onyedika.
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He described the alleged offence as a breach of the AnSFA statute. But in a reaction to the purported ban, on Tuesday, the Chairman of the sports commission, Patrick-Estate Onyedum, overruled the AnSFA chairman. Onyedum described the ban as “an affront to the authority of the Anambra Government”. He therefore ordered its immediate withdrawal “with an unreserved apology” to Gov. Chukwuma Soludo. The commission stated that Ilonenyosi had no powers to suspend Onyedika. In a letter to AnSFA, the commission stated that the staff member “was carrying out official duties as assigned to him and on behalf of the Anambra Government”.
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The letter read in part: “Our attention has been drawn to a misguided and asinine letter from the AnSFA, branding a competition organised by the commission as illegal. “The letter purportedly banned Chijioke Onyedika from further participation in football activities and from accessing football arenas anywhere in the state for five years with threats of arrest. “The commission views this as an affront to the authority of Anambra Government, which Onyedika represents. “For the avoidance of doubt, Onyedika is neither a member nor a representative of the government in the AnSFA board but a senior staff member of the ASSDC and carries the seal of approval of the State Government to act in any capacity assigned to him.
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“Therefore, you do not have the powers to stop him from acting on behalf of the State Government nor the capacity to stop him from entering any football facility within the state.” Onyedum further stated that the AnSFA “was overreaching itself”. He demanded that the letter banning Onyedika should be withdrawn within 48 hours with an apology to the governor to be published in two national daily newspapers and online. According to him, this is a veiled and unwarranted attack on the commission, which is vested with the powers to drive sports development at the grassroots and amateur levels as contained in the commission’s Establishment Law of 2018. The letter was copied to the Secretary to Anambra Government, Chief Chief of Staff to Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, the Minister of Sports Development, the Nigeria Football Federation, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Anambra Chapter and Anambra Referees Council.

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