.Dalung insists on supremacy of court order
From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Operatives of Department of State Service (DSS) stormed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Secretariat in Abuja and prevented men loyal to the Chris Giwa faction from entering the “Glass House”.
The gun totting DSS officers, totaling 23, were positioned outside and inside the premises of NFF office.
Journalists and non essential guests were also barred from access into the offices.
Yesterday’s development was the latest in the unfolding twists in the struggle for the leadership of Nigeria football between the Giwa and Amaju Pinnick factions.
However, the return of Dr Sanusi Mohammed as NFF Secretary General, gave the strongest hint yet that the embattled Pinnick faction has taken control of affairs of the football house.
After the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung facilitated Giwa’s take over of the NFF two weeks ago, in line with a Jos High Court exparte order issued by Justice Kurya, the factional board sacked Mohammed and replaced him with Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme.
Until the window dressing, Ikpeme the substantive Technical Director at NFF, was stunned when Mohammed arrived in the morning and attended to routine administrative tasks on his desk at the secretary general’s office.
Mohammed was removed while he was on duty in Russia during the FIFA World Cup, after allegations of financial impropriety were heaped against him following a petition written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by former Super Eagles coach and former Technical Director of NFF, James Peter.
The reinstated scribe told reporters last night that he was delighted to return and offered thanks to government for saving Nigeria from an imminent ban by upholding FIFA statutes.
“You can imagine the number of youths that would have been unemployed if FIFA had banned Nigeria. Look at Kano State for example, they have over 1,000 youths playing for club sides in the state, so if FIFA had banned Nigeria such people will become unemployed and also constitute nuisance to the country. That is just Kano alone not to talk of the other states of the country “, Muhammed said.
Meanwhile in a swift reaction, the Minister of Youth and Sports Dalung stated that nothing has changed after the Supreme Court ruling and Orders of the Federal High Court in Jos on the Nigeria Football Federation on April 27, 2018.
Barrister Dalung said in a statement that the status quo remains.
“As far as I am concerned, nothing has changed. There is no development after the Supreme Court ruling of April 27, 2018 and the Federal High Court Order of 5th June 2018 because the court has not vacated the order.
“Those who are presently trying to instigate confusion, using the name of the President must be aware that the President cannot go against the rule of law. The Order issued by the court has not been vacated and the President cannot vacate a court order because there are clear cut processes of doing that.
“What happened in the NFF today is security excesses but it will be sorted out. The Federal government is urging members of the public to remain calm as it is doing its best to resolve the crises in the Nigeria Football Federation.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has already initiated a process of trying to bring the stakeholders together, to work out a road map out of this quagmire. The Stakeholders’ meeting billed for Tuesday July 24, 2018 will still go ahead as planned.
“We want to assure Nigerians that Government is sorting out the grey areas but nobody should drag the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria into this. The President is an advocate of the Rule of Law and he cannot be associated with the security excesses of a breach of the Rule of Law.
“We urge the civil servants in the federation to remain calm and go about their normal duties,” he stated last night.
However, THISDAY has gathered exclusively that former NFF Chairmen and Secretary Generals were among the larger football stakeholders billed to attend today’s (Tuesday) roundtable meeting in Abuja to analyse and proffer solutions to the NFF crises.
The meeting of the state FA Chairmen and secretaries is summoned by Dalung.
But THISDAY learnt last night Col Abdul Mumuni Aminu (rtd), Brig. Dominic Oneya (rtd), Group Captain John Obakpolo, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, Sani Lulu- Abdulahi and Aminu Maigari are some of the ex-NFF chairmen/presidents expected at the summit.
Former Secretary General, Hon Sani Ahmed Toro, confirmed that he also received an invitation and would be in Abuja.
” I got an invitation and I am also aware that former FA chairmen and Secretary generals are also invited. We are stakeholders and part of the Congress, though the state FA Chairmen and secretaries have voting rights,” Toro said.
He insisted that it would be better to hear what Dalung has to say at the meeting before he can echo his views on the state of Nigerian football.