NFF Drags Obono-Obla To Court Over Corruption Allegation

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has dragged Okoi Obona-Obla, the Chairman of Special Presidential Investigatory Panel on the recovery of public property to court.

Mamman Nasir, lawyer to the NFF, said it has filed a suit at a High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, against Obono-Obla and SPIP.

Nasir warned against persecution and public show trial of its clients by the panel.

The SPIP had said the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, vice presidents; Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, as well as executive committee member, Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and secretary general, Mohammed Sanusi, are facing investigation over corruption allegations.

In a statement, the NFF’s lawyer lamented the “orchestrated media campaign” against the officials and the use of an “online media mob to promote the pre-determined media reportage of the activities of Obon-Obla and SPIP”.

“It must be pointed out that while these publications of the news of the warrant of arrest started 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 said.

The counsel questioned why a warrant of arrest was 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 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”.

 “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 panel were said to have stormed the NFF office in Abuja last Friday, to effect the arrest warrant on the country’s senior football officials.

 

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