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Athletes Threaten To Dump Rivers

Posted: Sep 8, 2015 at 12:22 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Athletes in the employment of Rivers state have threatened to dump the state following the non-payment of their salaries for over eight months.

Some of the athletes, our correspondent gathered have held talks with Akwa Ibom and Delta state government sports officials, while some others are storming Bayelsa on Thursday for discussion over a possible switch of allegiance.

A Para table tennis player, Ariyo Akintoye, who has won more than five gold medals for Rivers since he joined in 2010 wants Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike to match words with action over their plight.

“The governor should match words with action. Some of us are the bread winners of our families and you can imagine how we have been surviving for over a year now without salaries,” said Ariyo, who confirmed majority of the athletes have made up their mind to move their services to states where they will be appreciated.

“Some of the athletes are going to Bayelsa state on Thursday to discuss with the state sports officials over a possible switch. We are tired of not been appreciated,” said an angry Ariyo who wants to governor to know that athletes from over 30 other sports have done more for Rivers state than what the footballers have done.

‘In 2011 we ensured Rivers state became the number one sporting state in Nigeria by winning the National Sports Festival. A year later we were second to Delta state at the Eko 2012 edition of the Festival and we were determined to return Rivers to the number one position at the 19th edition of the Festival in Calabar before the event suffered a postponement,” he revealed.

Another Team Rivers athlete, Pedro is on the same page with Ariyo and reminds governor Wike that they–the athletes– also have bills to pay.

“Schools are resuming this month and some of us who are married and have children don’t know how we are going to send our kids to school now because we don’t have the money to pay school fees. We know the governor inherited this problem but we believe he can save the situation like he did for Sharks, Dolphons and Rivers Angels football clubs unless he wants to tell us he is governor for football only,” added Pedro.

“We are professionals and this is the only job we have.If Rivers state cannot appreciate what we have done to bring the state to the front page of sporting news in Nigeria,we believe other states who have always been on our neck to come over will,’he said and appealed to Ted Ikuru,the former deputy governor under governor Rotimi Amaechi to discuss their case with the governor.

“He was in-charge of our recruitment back then in 2010,2011 and knows how we won the National Sports Festival for Rivers state.’