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Abuja Court Suspends Arrest Warrant Against NFF BigWigs, Summons SPIP

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The Chief Magistrate District Court II in Abuja has suspended the warrant of arrest issued previously to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) headed by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla against five top officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),

The officials are NFF President, Amaju Pinnick his two vice-presidents; Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, as well as Ahmed Yusuf and the General Secretary, Dr. Sanusi Mohammed.

A statement from the NFF’s lawyers, Mamman Nasir & Co, was made available by the Communications Department of the Nigerian football ruling body stating that the court ordered that status quo be maintained while a notice was served to the (SPIP) to answer to other fundamental and substantial issues of law put forward by our clients in the matter.

“The Chief Magistrate District Court II, sitting at Wuse Zone 2, Abuja has through its order put in abeyance the warrant of arrest it had issued previously to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) headed by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla against some elected officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), namely; Amaju Melvin Pinnick (NFF President), Seyi Akinwunmi, Shehu Dikko, Ahmed Yusuf and Dr.Sanusi Mohammed, its General Secretary. (“our clients”),” the letter reads.

“Our clients maintain that the warrant was obtained by SPIP erroneously as it is ultra vires the enabling law establishing SPIP.

“The order for the maintenance of status quo thereby suspending the execution of the warrant of arrest was made on 14th day of January, 2019 under the hand of the presiding judge of the Court (Chief District Judge II). The Court made the order after hearing our clients’ application No. MN/04/2019 challenging the jurisdiction of the court, among others.

“By the same order, the SPIP has now been put on notice to appear before the Court to answer to other fundamental and substantial issues of law put forward by our clients in the matter, including the fact that there is no basis whatsoever for a warrant of arrest to be issued against them under the law.

“Notwithstanding this positive and deserved outcome, expected by our clients, we hold onto their firm instructions to pursue with utmost diligence and determination Suit No. FC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 pending separately at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, which our clients have instituted against Chief Obono- Obla and SPIP for violating our clients’ rights under the law and, acting outside and contrary to the enabling law setting up SPIP.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, our clients reiterate most categorically that there are no charges against them existing anywhere, as they have not committed any crimes under the law, whatsoever.

“They maintain that this whole lamentable matter is nothing more than the machination of some persons who are adverse to competing fairly for the leadership of NFF, but desperately wish to be foisted on the Federation (NFF) by external forces, who are apparently misled. Our clients are, therefore, confident that this conspiracy will surely be defeated in time.”

“Accordingly, it is our clients’ instructions to use this medium to express NFF’s appreciation to all its sponsors, partners and other stakeholders for their steadfast loyalty and support. They should rest assured that NFF remains committed to the orderly, transparent and accountable management of its affairs at all times, in keeping with best global standards.”

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