PLAYERS of the Cross River State-owned Nigerian Women’s Football League side Pelican Stars blocked the entrance to Governor Ben Ayade’s office yesterday in Calabar to protest the fact that they have not been paid for the last 14 months.
Most Nigerian clubsides, both male are female are state-owned and it is not unusual for them to owe players many months salary arrears. Yesterday, the Pelican Stars players decided they had had enough, pointing out they had resorted to begging for survival, insisting that they would all remain at the entrance until they were paid.
Team captain Hodo Williams, said: “We are owed 14 months’ salaries, this month, August, inclusive and we will sleep at the entrance of the governor’s office unless we are addressed by Governor Ben Ayade or his deputy. We spoke to our chairman Kombor Sam on Tuesday and it was the same old story, as he said we want to meet the governor to grant his final approval for you to be paid but we are tired of waiting since last year.”
Mr Sam, said recommendations, as directed by the governor, had been fulfilled and the papers sent to his office, adding that what was left was Governor Ayade’s approval. He added: “I’m also helpless because we have done all we were told to do. All we are waiting for now is the authorisation of payment and that only comes from the governor.”
Offu Aya, the Cross River State sports commissioner, added that the ministry was also awaiting the governor’s approval. He said: “We started the process of getting their money before the People’s Democratic Party’s state congress issues started, which took the governor’s attention.
“All I know is that congress will be concluded on Saturday, August 15. So, when it is concluded, they have no option than to pay the girls. The cash is there, I can attest to that.”
In June, the Pelican players protested over their unpaid salaries since 2019. However, they are yet to be paid.