Angry footballers of Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens Friday brought to a halt activities at the State Government House and the State House of Assembly over seven years unpaid allowances and sign-on fees.
The players, who are armed with placards with different inscriptions on them say the state government has failed over the years on its promises to clear the backlog of allowances. Players had planned to abandon them after their last 2014 league match coming up on Sunday.
The angry players had attempted to disrupt the proposed budget presentation of the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, to the State House of Assembly which was thwarted by security agents who pleaded with them, kept vigil for hours at the Government House gate with placards.
Speaking on the failed promises by the government, captain of the Bayelsa United Football Club, Mr. Salamon Junior, stated that it was unfair for government to treat them in such manner, adding that it was sad that this issue has degenerated to the extent that the players had to protest for their benefit instead of preparing for the last league games.
"I think everything needs to be done to prevent another occurrence because the situation is certainly out of hand. We stay in one of the worst camps in the country, handle meals and feeding on our own. It is obvious that we have been abandoned by the state government."
"Some of the players are being owed four years salary, some one year, and some have not been paid since they were employed. We will rather stay on this road until our demands are met."
Peter Egimobowei, the third highest goal scorer with eighteen goals in the 2014 Nigeria league, expressed dissatisfaction with the state government, noting that he has not seen such maltreatment in the management of a club where players are not cared for at all.
He said the state government does not appreciate the team, adding that they even approached the Deputy Governor but didn’t get any reasonable answer to their plight.
Ambrose Vanzekin, the team goalkeeper and Adegoke Mutiu, a player, also spoke angrily over the nonpayment of their salaries.
The team keeper stated that for two years now he has not been paid, adding that more protests are in the offing to put an end to the "non-payment syndrome" in Nigerian clubs, especially in Bayelsa State.
Adegoke, who said this is his fourteenth year in professional football, lamented that because of the lack of payment to players in the club they have lost some of their best players in the state.
A member of the Bayelsa State Assembly, Hon. Emmanuel Isenah, representing Kolokuma/Opokuma constituency 1, met with the protesters and pleaded that they leave the road, in order to prevent embarrassment to the state government.