The League Management Company (LMC) on Tuesday insisted that its officials were never declared wanted by the police and can therefore not be on the run because there are laid out and well known procedures the police adopt in declaring a person wanted.
LMC made the declaration in the aftermath of a staged raid by some policemen at its office in Abuja purportedly seeking to arrest and imprison its Chairman, Shehu Dikko and Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar on the orders of Mr. Justice I.I Kunda of the Jos Division of the Plateau State High Court.
The LMC said it is aware of a court order from the said judge but added that it has appealed the order and filed a motion for stay of execution.
A statement from the company yesterday, clarified that in addition to filing a formal protest to the office of the Inspector General of Police (IG), it has verified from the Police Command that at no time did it declare the LMC officials wanted.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are spelt out procedures for declaring a person wanted by the police. Courts do not declare persons wanted but if a court wishes to compel the appearance of a person before it, the court issues a bench warrant directing the police to arrest and produce the person before it on a given date.
“The police or other law enforcement agencies can declare a person wanted if they find reasons to do so, particularly if the person is a suspect in the commission of a crime and is on the run. In other words, the assistance of the public at large is being sought to apprehend such a person.
“Such declaration will be made by formal public pronouncement by the police and not a handful working with shadowy persons to achieve personal set agenda”, the LMC explained.
In the petition filed by LMC Lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) noted that, “although there was no direction by the court to the Inspector General of Police to arrest our clients and take them to prison, we still felt it is necessary to make the position of the law on the point clear so that some operatives of the force are not misled by the applicant in the suit to do anything which may conflict with the settled principles of law as stated above”.
The petition continued, “according to the well established principle of law, nobody is entitled to act or do anything towards the enforcement or execution of an order of court against which an appeal and a motion for stay of execution have been filed until after the appeal is disposed off”.
The LMC described what happened at its office on Wednesday as “a stage-managed charade to embarrass the LMC and its officials using some misguided media persons in a coordinated syndication of the story of an operation that was of no effect”.
It reiterated that several rulings of the Jos High Court Judge are already on appeal with motions for stay of execution filed.
“We expect the Appeal Court to consider these on Monday, September 26. We expect that on the strength of our case, this dubious order by the lower court would be quashed”.
The LMC said it will continue to carry on its lawful business and operation in spite of the desperate efforts by some to intimidate it and bend it’s will against the Framework and Rules of NPFL and the laws of the land,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has condemned the raid at LMC office stating that “the time has come for all peace loving and law abiding Nigerians to stand up against the continued intimidation of private citizens and institutions using both fabricated and/or void court orders as well as people whose status as police officers raises doubt.
“We ask that all clubs, club officials, league officials, football business entrepreneurs and indeed the millions of Nigerian football fans whose interests are affected by this brigandage should remain calm and rest assured that both the NFF and the LMC are taking all necessary steps not only to expose and end this continued fraud on our football but to once and for all expose the mafia behind the attempted rape of our collective will.
As a federation, we fully understand the dynamics and intrigues of football laws and civil laws and how we relate with both,” the statement from the Glass House yesterday inferred.