Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach, Imama Amakapabo, was yesterday in Abuja seized by gunmen, who claimed to be security operatives working on the orders of the coach’s last club, Enugu Rangers. The gunmen claimed that the coach was arrested because he was in possession of some items belonging to the defending Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) champions months after he was suspended by the club.
A source close to the coach said Amakapabo was surprised by Rangers’ attitude to him, adding the coach was told by the management of the club that he was on suspension and not sacked as claimed by some other officials.
The source, who said he had not been able to get in contact with the coach as his phone was switched off, apparently by his abductors, added that Rangers were still indebted to the former Enyimba trainer to the tune of N52 million.
“Imama’s salary is N2 million monthly and Rangers have to settle the debt if they want to terminate his two-year contract. When they realised the implication of their action, they quickly changed the sack to suspension and yet they have not paid him a dime.
“Imama was in Abuja to meet with the arbitration panel and he planned to move to Kano from there to join the home-based Super Eagles’ team. Somebody simply wants to rubbish him,” he said.
However, in his reaction to the incident, Rangers General Manager, Christian Chukwu said the club invited the police to help recover Enugu State government properties still being held by the coach.
“It is three months now since Imama left Rangers after he was relieved of his managerial role,” Chukwu said in an interview with Brila FM.“He left with the club’s official car and the keys to his official accommodation.
“We have written to him three times to return the vehicle and house keys, but he has refused to comply.“Right now our chief coach does not have an official car.“The owner of the house has been asking us to come and remove our things and surrender the keys. But we cannot do that in the absence of Imama who owns the items in the house,” he added.
Meanwhile, the League Management Company has charged Enugu Rangers and the club’s Secretary, Elder Joseph Onwukwe for infractions of the NPFL rules and framework in the course of mediation proceedings in the dispute between the club and Amapakabo.
The LMC has subsequently levied sanctions on the club and the official with Rangers fined N5 million and Onwukwe banned from all NPFL activities for one year.The LMC also directed Rangers to pay the sacked coach various sums, including N14, 560, 000 representing his salaries for April to October 2017 and compensation for wrongful termination, N1, 600, 000 representing his salary for November and December 2016, N600,000, which represents arrears of allowances and bonuses and $725 which is international travel allowance owed Amapakabo.Onwukwe was charged for breaches of Appendix E1.5, Appendix E1.4 (Code of Conduct for Club Officials), C28 and C1 of the Framework and Rules.