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World Cup: Senate summons Dare, Pinnick

The Senate has summoned the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare over the vandalisation of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja by fans following the Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The upper chamber also invited Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation, and other agencies involved in the maintenance and security of the revamped stadium.

The lawmakers passed the resolution during the plenary session on Wednesday following a point of order raised by Michael Nnachi, a senator from Ebonyi.

Radio Nigeria had reported that after the final whistle of the World Cup playoff between Nigeria and Ghana, some fans stormed the pitch and damaged the facilities in the stadium.

The minister and NFF president are expected to brief the lawmakers on the violent fallout and why Super Eagles lost the mundial ticket to the Black Stars.

Violent reaction by irate fans reportedly took place in the aftermath of Nigeria vs Ghana qualifier leading to vandalisation of facilities at the stadium and the unfortunate death of Zambian CAF official, Joseph Kabungo,” Senator Nnachi said.

The national stadium was jam-packed with highly expectant Nigerian fans throughout the controversial match, and the alleged violent reaction of those fans to the outcome of this match has become a subject of local and international media criticism.

“A lot of valuable facilities at the stadium were destroyed, but the extent of the destruction is yet to be determined by the relevant government authority.

There is no gainsaying that the destruction will cause the government of Nigeria several millions of naira to either replace or effect repairs.

Apart from several unidentified football fans who were injured as a result of this incident, the death of Dr Joseph is a huge loss to the global football community.”

Supporting the motion, Abba Moro, a lawmaker from Benue State, said the senate must ensure that stadia across the country are well structured and possibly fitted with modern CCTV and other tracking devices, to deter such an incident happening in the future.

“It is sad that Nigerians vented their anger and frustration on the physical stadium,” Senator Moro, a former Minister of Internal Affairs, retorted.

The senate also mandated its committee on sports and youth development to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the failure of the Eagles to qualify for the World Cup in spite of overwhelming government support.

Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; Editing by Tina Oyinsan and Tony Okerafor