FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has waded into the controversy surrounding the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) maintaining that Amaju Pinnick is the elected president of the association.
Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, had recently issued a statement directing Pinnick and his NFF board to vacate the Glass House in Abuja following a judgment of the Supreme Court of April 27, 2018, which restored the orders of the Federal High Court, setting aside the September 30, 2014, election in Warri that brought Pinnick to office.
A statement issued by the Minister’s aide, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, had said the directive followed a written notification signed for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) requesting the Sports Ministry to ensure compliance.
The Supreme Court order as interpreted by Malami, ordered Dalung to reinstate Chris Giwa, who purportedly won the parallel election held on August 26, 2014 in Abuja.
FIFA has however refused to recognise Giwa as the elected president of the football association.
Responding to a question on the development in NFF and on whether FIFA will ban Nigeria if its interferes with the running of the football body at a press conference in Russia, Infantino said Pinnick was the elected President of the association and warned that Nigeria risked being banned should any external body interferes with the running of NFF.
The FIFA President said: “Nigerian Football Association has a President, his name is Pinnick. He has been elected, we have been very clear about that already, sometime ago. I have heard this issue came up again.
“The situation is very clear. We have statutes, we have regulations, there can be no interference in the running of the association, of course, and for this reason, Pinnick is working here in an official capacity. He is the President, he is the President for FiFA, He is the President elected by the members of the Nigerian Football Association and that is the end of the story.
“And if any external body thinks that they can change the situation, then of course Nigeria would risk to be banned like it’s happening in other countries as well, because we have processes, democratic processes, and they just need to be respected and it is a very clear cut and simple case, as far as we are concerned. And we have made this very clear and if it is necessary we will make it clearer, maybe you can help us by transmitting that message if it didn’t come across yet clear enough.”