November, 6 2023.
The management and board of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) have descended hard on at least 14 Referees and Assistant Referees said to have been directly linked with a number of matches, whose outcome has come under scrutiny, in the last few match-days.
The Referees and Assistant Referees, we understand have been told they have been stood down indefinitely from officiating games in the top flight, until the Referees Development Committee looks into their cases, on individual merit, before they can be cleared to return to officiating again.
Already the NPFL, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and even the Referees Committee have spoken about the number of referees enlisted to officiate matches this season, last season, or any other time; saying the number is over-blotted, and this could be a perfect opportunity to prune the list downwards.
The Referee and Assistant Referees stood-down are: Referee Bawa Buhari (Gombe) who was in charge of the Rivers United vs Niger Tornadoes.
Referee Chukwuka Jahlove (Anambara) and Assistant Referee Akinwale Tomowa (Oyo), who took charge of the Niger Tornadoes vs Bayelsa United encounter in Kaduna.
Also fingered were Assistant Referee 2 Zachariah Nde of Delta State who was in charge of the Sporting Lagos vs Niger Tornadoes Day-6 encounter.
Referee Saheed Abdulazeez Katsina and Assistant Rederee Jimmy Aimugbonire (Edo) who officiated the Gombe United vs Plateau United Day-5 tie.
And Referee Brown Ebenezer (Abia) along with his Assistant Atuwho Morrison (Delta State) in the Kwara United vs Sporting Lagos FC match, played in Ilorin.
All four match referees that took charge of the Sunshine Stars vs Abia Warriors encounter in Akure, were listed for questioning.
Same as two arbiters of the Bendel Insurance vs Remo Stars fixture, played in Benin on Sunday - Referee Imamu Maliki (Kano) and Assistant Referee Sunday Azi (Plateau).
According to a memo signed by the the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the NPFL, Davison Owumi and circulated to the Referees Development Commission, all the concerned clubs are to make available to it, the full and unedited audio-visuals of each of the matches under review.
No date was fixed in the letter, sighted by www.ckdmedia.ng for the hearing.