The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) notes that it has been inundated with enquiries about charges allegedly filed against its leadership (Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Seyi Akinwunmi, Shehu Dikko, Ahmed Fresh and Mohammed Sanusi) by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
NFF in a statement by the chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee, Hon Suleiman Yahaya Kwande denies that the Federal government has filed any such charges. NFF states that the orchestrated media blitz about the existence of such charges is nothing but the desperate and malicious efforts of the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) to lend itself as an instrument of cheap blackmail in the fight for the political leadership of NFF.
Currently pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja is Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 filed by NFF against SPIP and 3 others, including Chief Obono-Obla himself. NFF in the suit is challenging the competence of SPIP under the law to purport to investigate or prosecute NFF or its leadership.
When the matter came up for hearing on April 20, 2019, Barrister Celsus Ukpong, the lawyer representing SPIP wrote a letter applying for an adjournment of the matter, as he could not appear in court for official reasons. The suit was accordingly adjourned to May 13, 2019 for definite hearing.
It is an issue that must befuddle the mind and be of great concern to all Nigerians that the same SPIP should, against the foregoing background then proceed to allegedly file charges in the name of the FGN before the same Federal High Court while the pending suit filed by NFF against it is yet to be determined.
It should now be clear to all that the SPIP under Chief Obono-Obla is acting in contempt of the laws and Courts of Nigeria. Even more deplorable is the fact that its legal representatives will employ deception in dealing with the Court of law regarding a suit to which it is a party and fully represented in court.
The determination of SPIP and Chief Okono-Obla to act unlawfully and in undisguised bias against NFF and its leadership is well documented and forms the basis of NFF’s petition to the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice since January 2019, as well joining the office of the Hon. Attorney-General in all the suits we have filed against SPIP. We are confident that this regrettable matter will be appropriately dealt with in the due course.
We wish to state categorically that the charges filed by SPIP are frivolous and totally baseless. They are aimed only at scandalising the NFF and its leadership and nothing more, in order to mislead the unwary and uninformed. This is evident from the great facility with which the news of the charges which were registered at the court’s registry today, May 7, 2019, have been widely disseminated by SPIP and its collaborators.
For instance, SPIP alleges that the leadership of NFF moved N4Billion (Four Billion Naira) from NFF on 3 November 2018. The maliciousness and falsity of this charge is established by the fact that the alleged sum is about four times the 2018 NFF Appropriation in the FGN budget as approved by the National Assembly, which in total was N1.14 Billion (One Billion, One Hundred and Fourteen Million Naira), out of which only about N700m (Seven Hundred Million Naira) was cash-backed for the entire 2018 financial year. It is also on record that since June 2018 till date NFF has only received N110m (One Hundred and Ten Million Naira only) from FGN (which was received only in February, 2019). This is in spite of the fact that NFF has prosecuted about 30 international matches involving the various national teams, (Super Eagles, Falcons, U23 Men Team, U20 Boys, U17 Eaglets, U20 Girls (Falconets), Supersand Eagles etc), requiring the NFF to raise funds independently to supplement the funds from the FGN, NFF stated in the release.