By Haruna Mohammed, Bauchi
Wikki Tourist football club in Bauchi is enmeshed in crisis over allegations of salary racketeering, players’ transfer that led to the sacking of the Team’s Manager, Aminu Dalhatu Umar.
LEADERSHIP reports that the management of the team had earlier suspended Umar and later announced his replacement with Aminu Yankari as the new Team Manager which sources say may affect the performance of the team particularly at the beginning of the season.
The club had lost its opening match against Nasarawa United by 2 goals to 1 in Lafia and were held to a goalless draw by Plateau United in Bauchi.
LEADERSHIP authoritatively gathered that the crisis emanated last November when the former team manager wrote a complaint letter to the management exposing how illegal transfer of three players and fraudulent activities involving the salary of a player exacerbated the in-fighting in the club.
The in-fighting worsened when the leadership of Wikki Tourist Supporters Club had on 21st December announced the sacking of 10 members from the activities of the club including Abdulrashid Maigyada, Sabiku Agada, Auwal Flash, Mohammad Sani Rio, Musa Munkaila, Faizu Mai Labule, Habu Haslah, Ibrahim Bebeto, and Abdul’azeez Mai Labule and Nafiu Yellow.
When contacted in a telephone interview, the Chairman of Wikki football club Balarabe Douglas, confirmed the sacking of the members but said that all the affected persons were reinstated.
“The leadership of the supporters make the pronouncement of expelling 10 members of the club but I come out boldly in the same media and rejected the position it took and that the decision is null and void as all the affected members were not expelled from the team.”
“Let me also make it clear that the decision by the supporters’ club has nothing to do with the turbaning of Shamsudeen Bala Mohammed rather the former team manager wants to bring in the issue just to cause a problem.
“The issue of his suspension has to do with the investigation by officials from the ministry.
Allegations of Salary Racketeering in Wikki Tourist
Reports say each player of Wikki Tourist football club receives N500,000 at the end of every month but normally went home with A paltry 30,000 naira as their monthly take-home pay.
Former team manager, Aminu Dalhatu Umar recalled that the genesis of the crisis started when he approached the Chairman of the club with the issues of illegal transfer of three Wikki FC players, Hassan Abubakar now playing for Eyimba FC of Aba, Adamu Abubakar a goalkeeper now with Plateau United of Jos and Nasiru Jibrin popularly known as (Baggio) who is still with the club but will leave anytime from now.
Umar explained that another issue raising an eyebrow is the salary Manji Dakub, goalkeeper who is from the feeder team, “For the past seven months, the account of the player is been credited with N500,000 but the Dakub is getting only N30,000 and the chairman is receiving N470, 000 illegally without the knowledge of the management.
“I told the chairman why he is receiving N470,000 from the player illegally and he was unable to give a concrete explanation and I informed him that I will write a letter to the ministry to intervene because I cannot allow illegal dealings under my watch as the team manager to save my integrity.
“If the ministry failed to take appropriate action, I will take the matter to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and ICPC for proper investigation to clear my name because under the FIFA, CAF, NFF and LMC-FA issues of a transaction, transfer of players is the duty of the team manager and some people out of their selfish interest went behind the window to sell players illegally without following due process.
“I am to receive a letter of termination of appointment nor sacked.”
Bauchi Sports Ministry declined to Make Comments
Efforts to get the position of the State Commissioner of Sport Adamu Manu Soro was not successful as he declined to pick several calls put through his mobile line and did not respond to text messages sent to him by our correspondent.
Instead, the Commissioner instructed the Secretary of the Club Abdullahi Askiya to speak on his behalf who said, “You should not contact the Commissioner on issues that affect Wikki football club because we have an Information Officer who is in charge of all communications about the club.”
On his part the Information Officer of Wikki FC Nasiru Kobi, confirmed the sacking of the team manager, adding, “I have not been briefed on the allegations raised and I don’t think he writes his complaint letter to Wikki Tourist but I think he forwarded his complaint to either EFCC or ICPC but I will find out later.
“I am not in the picture of the conflict between the former team manager and chairman of the club but I know about a conflict between the former team manager and Technical Adviser in the field which led to a police case and later the case was withdrawn.
“The Commissioner of sports constituted a committee to investigate and members were asked to appear and give evidence and up till now, I don’t know the outcome of the panel.”
Commenting on the crisis, the immediate past Chairman of Wikki Supporters Club, Umar Aliyu said that the recent crisis is a bad omen to the club and appeal to the state government to urgently intervene to avert escalation and saved the fortune of the team especially at the beginning of league season.
He attributed the crisis to the intrusion of politics into the activities of the club and clashes of personalities within the management, “I am appealing to the state government to tackle the crisis before it affects club.”
Responding on the allegations about salary racketeering, the current Chairman Mr Balarabe Douglas angrily dismissed the allegations, adding that our correspondent does not have the right to be questioning the leadership of Wikki Tourists regarding the allegations.
He said there was no iota of truth in any salary racketeering involving him and any of the players of Wikki Tourist football club, describing the allegation as ‘baseless.”