Three years after soldiers killed Nigerian footballer, Joseph Izu, club, family, players union still seek justice
By Taiwo Adelu
London, Oct, 22, 2019 (AltAfrica) -Its three years since Joseph Izu, a professional player with Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, Oyo State, South-West Nigeria, was allegedly shot dead by some soldiers of the Nigerian Army, since then, justice is yet to be served on the trigger happy soldier murderers
October 16, 2019 marked the third anniversary of the brutal killing of the former defender whose offence was to holiday at hometown, in Okarki, Rivers State.
Izu’s killing and other reported cases of wanton abuses and violations led the Federal Government to set up a special panel to investigate these cases. Expectedly, members of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers (NANPF) and the family of the late footballer are still crying for justice since then.
The players’ union and the lawyers to the family of the late footballer submitted petitions to the special panel through the Attorney General and the National Human Rights Commission.
Secretary-General of NANPF, Comrade Austin Popo told Alternativeafrica.com that the union and the family are demanding the release of the report of the investigative panel on Izu Joseph.
“It is three years now that Izu Joseph was killed and nothing has happened. We are demanding from the Federal Government to release the report of its special panel and pronounce justice on the killer of our own Izu Joseph.
“We also want Nigeria Army to compensate the family for this wanton and unjustified killing of Izu Joseph in his prime. The late footballer was the bread winner of his family until he was killed,” Popo said.
He added that the union would not rest until justice’s done on the player’s killing, as he also restated the union’s unrelenting drive to give the welfare of Nigerian footballers paramount attention at all times.
Meanwhile, the NANPF has intensified its drive towards ensuring a better and healthier life after football for its members. Towards achieving this and other laudable objectives of the foremost players’ union, the body has set up the NANPF/SIGMA Nigeria Professional Footballers Pension Scheme (NPFPS).
NANPF President Tijani Babangida, MON, during the past week led a delegation that included the union’s Secretary-General, Austin Popo on a sensitization tour of Katsina and Kano States where they admonished the players of both Katsina United and Kano Pillars about the planned pension scheme, as well as life after football and other football related issues.
“We are determined to ensure Nigerian footballers live a better and healthier life after retirement from football. That is why we have planned this pension scheme and also encouraging our footballers to key into this project.
“The unsavoury stories of old and young footballers falling on hard times must stop. Footballers should no longer live a beggarly life after their careers,” Babangida, a former Super Eagles and Ajax of Holland star lamented.
“I understand how and why retired footballers in other parts of the world, particularly, Europe continue to live good lives after their careers. They have a pension and welfare scheme that takes care of their players. That is the reason we are determined to replicate what happens in Europe here for the benefits of our footballers,” he said.
He went on to reveal that the union would continue the sensitization campaign. As it plans to visit other parts of the country in the coming days.