Commotion at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup yesterday morning,Â as hefty-looking men(mostly body builders), engaged as stewards to provide security during matchesÂ protested the N20,000, approved as honorarium for each of them for the duration of the competition at the Lagos centre.
But for the intervention of men of the anti riot Police squad , who mounted tight security at the western gate of the stadium, the protesters who left the national stadium in their hundreds threatened fire and brimstoneÂ to beat up the head of the security sub committee.
In a chat with Sports Vanguard, one of the protesting men who gave his name as Sunday Bullet Usuwa said their anger was based on the fact that they felt shortchanged.
He disclosed that they had been training for the past four weeks and those who were eventually selected were told that only twenty thousand Naira would be given them for the five match days.
â€œWe consider this as too small for the amount of work demanded of us,â€ he said, adding, â€œto add salt to injury, the coordinator said five thousand Naira would be deducted from each person which will reduce the take home pay to fifteen thousand Naira.â€Usuwa explained that their intention was to stage a peaceful protest to the chairman of the security sub-committee, Dotun Aderibigbe and demand for their application letters and the curriculum vitae of each of their members.
â€œWe are no longer interested, we are no paupers or street urchins. That is why we cannot go to the streets and demonstrate. Why will anybody want to treat us this way? he asked in frustration.
In a swift reaction to the allegation, chairman of the security sub-committee, Dotun Olaribigbe confirmed to Sports Vanguard that N20,000 was actually approved for each of the 2000 stewards he needed, but denied knowledge of the proposed N5,000 deductions from each personnel.
Said he, â€œTo start with, the main LOC had no provision for stewards. It was the personal intervention of the Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola that the provision was made.
â€œHe is aware of FIFAâ€™s reservation about armed policemen at match venues. He approved that amount for two thousand men I requested for. If anybody told them that, it is not from me.â€
Continuing, Olaribigbe said ,â€I promised each of them N20,000. Whoever does not want to work is on his own. I do not know who told them about that.â€