• It’s for their own good, says Pinnick
• Delta Governor thanks World football body
The tension generated by the action of some youths, who allegedly held contractors handling the FIFA Goal Project in Ugborodo-Escravos, Warri South council of Delta State to ransom and demanded for special fee commonly called ‘deve’ in the state, has been resolved.
The youths were said to have forced the contractors to stop work on the project for allegedly refusing to pay ‘deve,’ a common trick by youths in Warri and its environs to extort money from land developers.
But Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, told The Guardian yesterday that the situation has been brought under control.
“We have resolved the issue, and work is now going on smoothly at the FIFA Goal Project in Ugborodo,” Pinnick said in a telephone chat.
“The FIFA Goal Project is in the interest of Ugborodo people, particularly the youths. I don’t see any reason why they will demand ‘deve’ from the contractors handling the project. But as I said, the issue has been resolved, and work is now going on smoothly. I thank the people for their understanding,” Pinnick stated.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that before the contractors were mobilised to site, Pinnick visited Ugborodo, where he solicited the cooperation of the host community for the project.
Pinnick had intimated the Paramount Ruler of Ugborodo that FIFA gave approval for work to commence on the project in the community, describing the location of the project as fantastic. “It will be nice to see football being played close to the Atlantic Ocean. We want a conducive environment for the contractor to deliver the project on time.”
Two FIFA Goal Projects are being built simultaneously in Nigeria, one in Ugborodo, Delta State and the other in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.
Governor Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu of Kebbi had on September 21 laid the foundation of the FIFA mini-stadium in Birnin Kebbi.At a colourful ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Stadium in Delta State were Deputy Governor, Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro (who represented Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa), Chairman of Warri South-West Council, Taye Tuoyo, President of NFF Amaju Pinnick, and NFF General Secretary Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, among others.
According to the Deputy Governor, the citing of the project in Ugborodo is strategic and historical and will go a long way to foster unity among the Itsekiri, Ilaje, and Ijaw people and it will also aid the development of the area in all facets. He promised that the government would be an integral part of the project and thanked FIFA and the NFF for the project.