The Bayelsa State Government has described as embarrassing the reports of the signing of a new shirt sponsorship deal by Bayelsa United with Halkin Exploration and Production Limited for the remaining part of the 2023/24 NPFL season.
The government, in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah, on Wednesday, claimed that it was not aware of any such deal involving the state-owned team, and that it neither approved nor endorsed such agreement in the ongoing football season.
Our correspondent learnt that Halkin Exploration and Production Limited had been at the centre of the controversy surrounding the alleged acquisition of Oil Mining Lease 46 (also known as the Atala Oilfield) belonging to the Bayelsa State Government.
In April 2020, Governor Douye Diri had opposed the revocation of the OML 46 licence by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources, insisting that the oilfield was “a prized asset of the state.
“The state Governor, Senator Diri, expresses surprise and embarrassment over reports of a new kit sponsorship deal signed by the state-owned football team, Bayelsa United. The Governor wishes to unequivocally place on record that he is not aware of any such deal involving Bayelsa United and Halkin Exploration and Production Limited.”
“Governor Diri has consequently directed the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Daniel Igali, and the Bayelsa United chairman, Ebiki Timitimi, to immediately halt the process pending the conclusion of a full-scale investigation into the matter,” the statement read.
It explained that preliminary investigation showed that due diligence and the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities were ignored in the deal.