Abia government said on Monday that it had commenced investigation into the violent clash that erupted between the unruly fans of Abia Warriors FC and Enyimba International FC of Aba during the Nigeria Professional Football League Week 20 match.
The Commissioner for Sports, Emeka Ikwuagwu, who stated this in a statement issued in Umuahia on Monday, decried the incident, which took place at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Sunday.
Ikwuagwu stated government’s displeasure over the development between the two sister-clubs.
“We wish to express our strong displeasure over the reported violence among fans that marred the match between the two sister-clubs.”
“While we are currently investigating the root causes of the incident with a view to appropriately sanction the culprits, we wish to call on fans and managements of both clubs to ensure that such incident does not occur again.
“The state is proud to be the only one in the federation maintaining two clubs at that level but will not accept unwholesome rivalry between the sister-teams,” Ikwuagwu further stated.
He also stated that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had directed his personal physician, Dr. Mike Enyinna, to offer adequate medical attention to those that sustained injuries during the violent clash.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that crisis erupted in the first half of the game, when Abia Warriors won a penalty but failed to convert it.
The visiting supporters, who allegedly began to taunt the home team ahead of the penalty kick, were said to have sustained the taunting even after the penalty was lost.
The taunting reportedly infuriated the home supporters, who allegedly turned aggressive, after an Enyimba supporter allegedly took his celebration to the home supporters side.
It was learnt that following the development, both sides engaged each other in a serious shouting bout that snowballed into the hauling of stones and plastic seats at each other.
It was further learnt that the efforts by the chairmen of the two clubs, Emeka Inyama (Abia Warriors) and Felix Anyansi-Agwu (Enyimba), to quell the clash fell on deaf ears as the exchange of missiles intensified.
“It was when Anyansi-Agwu was trying to calm down Enyimba supporters that a stone hit him on the head and gave him a deep cut.
“He bled profusely and was taken to a nearby private hospital for first aid and later moved to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia,” an official of Abia Warriors said on the condition of anonymity.
It was reliably learnt that he was stabilised with the aid of an oxygen and later discharged to return to Aba on Sunday night.
NAN reports that the ugly incident had never been recorded between the two sister-clubs in any derby since Abia Warriors gained promotion to the premiership in 2013.
Both clubs are owned and funded by the Abia government.