Court hears suit by deceased female footballers’ parents today
The Plateau State High Court Two sitting in Jos will today begin hearing on a case instituted by parents of 10 female footballers and two of their coaches, who died in a ghastly motor accident at Dorowa, in Barkin Ladi local government council of Plateau State on December 21, 2008.
The case is between the parents of the dead female footballers and Plateau State Government. The plaintiffs are demanding N200 million as compensation from the state government.
However, The Guardian has gathered that the new administration in the state is seeking an out of court settlement in the matter that has been going on for the past two years.
On December 21, 2008, 10 young female footballers and two of their coaches died in a ghastly motor accident at Dorowa. The girls had been contracted by the Jos North council to represent it in the then First Lady, Ngo Talatu Jang’s Female Football Competition among the 17 local government councils of the state.
The Jos North Local Government Squad, popularly called ‘Rock City Queens’ left Jos in the morning of that day, December 21, 2008, to Shendam, the venue of the competition and according to eyewitnesses, “on their way back to Jos in the evening of the same day, tragedy struck as their J5 bus ran headlong into an oncoming Golf Volkswagen car and burst into flames.
“Out of the six occupants in the Golf car, only one person survived and of the 18 passengers in the J5 bus conveying the players, 12 were burnt to ashes, including a 12– year–old. Naomi John, who was the youngest among the players.”
Others, who lost their lives, according to the Publisher of African Drum magazine, Joseph Adudu, who has been following the case, include “Augustina Kenneth, Catherine Okpoko, Happiness Primus, Mary Achom, Comfort Agwu, Vicky Joseph, Angela Otuka, Mercy Uwandu, Jummai Ishaku, Khalid Yaro and Chief Coach Ganiyu.”
Adudu revealed that “the then Governor of the state, Jonah David Jang, now a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his wife Ngo Talatu on whose behalf the competition was organised, and the then chairman of Jos North, Barrister Timothy Buba, all made earth-shaking promises during the mass burial.”
He said that of utmost importance was the directive by Senator Jang then that parents of the deceased footballers should contact him at Government House, but “that was where the story ended as the parents could not access the then governor as promised due to his busy schedules. Neither his spouse nor the Jos North chairman made good their promises.”
Since the efforts of the parents to see the officials proved abortive, they decided to sue the present state government, as government is continuum. But the present government is pushing for an out of court settlement with the parents.
A similar tragedy took place sometime in January 2009 when 12 players of Jimeta United Football Club of Adamawa lost their lives in an accident at Hawan Kibo in Riyom local government of the state.