By Sylvanus Ofekun
The Nigeria Football Federation has warned against persecution and public show trial of its officials by the Special Presidential Investigatory Panel (SPIP) on the recovery of public property, headed by Okoi Obona-Obla.
The NFF through its lawyers, Mamman Nasir in a statement made available to Breaking Times bemoaned the “orchestrated media campaign” against it officials and the use of an “online media mob” to promote the pre-determined media reportage of the activities of Chief Obon-Obla and SPIP.It must be pointed out that while these publications of the news of the warrant of arreststarted on Wednesday 9th January 2019, the date on the face of the eventual published warrant unlawfully obtained from a magistrate’s court in Abuja is Thursday 10th January 2019.
The obvious conclusion here is that some interested persons have an unrestrained and direct access to Chief Obono-Obla, and have thus secured a front row seat that allows them a pre-knowledge of all steps to be taken by Chief Obono-Obla and or SPIP, which they gleefully publish ahead of these steps.”The statement added.
The council to the NFF questioned why a warrant of arrest will be obtained from a magistrate court instead of a High court as prescribed by the law setting up the SPIP.
“More grievous to the rights of our client and its officials is the fact that Chief Obono-Obla
and SPIP went to secure a warrant of arrest from a magistrate court contrary to the clear
provisions of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, the law setting up the
SPIP, that ONLY the Federal High Court is vested with the jurisdiction to issue warrants for
the SPIP. It can only be concluded that this deviation was purposely to achieve the aim of
avoiding the protection afforded everyone, including the affected NFF officials, under the
same law that set up SPIP, which requires the SPIP to present a prima facie case to a judge
of the Federal High Court to justify its case before a warrant of arrest may be issued under
the hand of the judge”.
Barrister Nasir however stated,that he has filed a suit against the presidential panel in the FCT high court Abuja.”Our client and the affected NFF officials have also taken the additional step to file a suit,
FC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division (The only court statutory
conferred with jurisdiction over SPIP matters under the enabling act). The suit is to allow
this whole sordid matter to be ventilated in the Court of the land and to check the
oppression of our client and its officials.”
Four operatives of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Properties on Friday Morning stormed the Nigeria Football Federation Headquarter, popularly known as the Glass house to effect the arrest warrant on NFF President, Amanju Pinnick and four other top NFF officials.
The Special Presidential Investigative Panel had on Tuesday obtained a warrant of arrest on NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, First vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, Second Vice President, Shehu Dikko, NFF Secretary General, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’.
According to an inside source in the glass house said the operative arrived the football house exactly 11 am.
“They came to our office exactly 11 am,but didn’t see who they were looking.One of our boss(Mohammed Cheku) immediatly put a call to the General Secretary( Dr. Mohammed Sanusi) who was speechless.The inside source stated.
Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Public Properties,Barrister Okoi Obono Obla has warned officials of the Nigeria Football Federation indicted by his panel, that no top government officials can save them from been prosecuted.
Obla, in a telephone interview with Kiss Fm Abuja on Wednesday said that he his not concerned with the rumors, that some top officials of the NFF are lobbying the Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justices, Abubakar Mallami SAN to stop the case from going to court.
“Am not concerned with rumors in the media,those officials of the NFF indicted will be charged to court because we have finished our investigations,so anyone lobbying any government official is wasting his time.Let me remind them that this government have zero tolerance for corruption.If you steal you will face the consequence as no government official will save you”.Obla said.
The indicted NFF officials have since disappeared from the public.