The Association of Nigerian Women in Sports (NAWIS) has expressed shock over the near fatal attack on a female football referee, Patience Nweke, by players of the Nigeria National League (NNL) side, J’ Atete FC on Saturday evening.
Referee Nweke from Imo state was said to have slumped into a coma after she was allegedly assaulted and dehumanized by the savage players following their defeat at home to Ekiti United in a league game, leaving her with several cuts and head injury.
According credible reports, based on verifiable accounts of eyewitnesses and pictures from the scene of the brutal incident, the players of J’ Atete FC, a football club based in oil-rich Warri, Delta state, campaigning in the nation’s second tier league (NNL), went gaga after they lost at home to visiting Ekiti United.
NAWIS in a statement issued by its PRO, Oluwafunmike Kanjuni, said they cannot confirm her state of health, but it is noteworthy that proprietor of the club, Julius Atete was at the said hospital to see for himself, the damage done by his irate players.
While waiting on the Police, the Nigeria Football Federation and officials of NNL and Nigeria Football Referees Association, to comment on the ugly development; the leadership of NAWIS summarily condemned this act of barbarism and savagery taken too far.
NAWIS therefore demand that: “The Police who were on duty at the match venue, should without further delay, arrest all the players and club officials that attacked the helpless woman; and make them to face charges of assault and attempted murder as contained in the laws of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“That the Club, NFF, NNL and NRA must take immediate steps, within the framework of their statutes and rule books, investigate and sanction the culpable players/officials; and make their findings/sanctions public.
“The Nigeria Football Federation, governing bodies of the various leagues, and the Police should rework the security provisions at match venues, to minimize to the barest minimum, if not completely erase the incessant attacks met on match officials.”
while on duty, as witnessed recently, and make match venues across the country safer,” the statement read.