BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) has said that the threat by FIFA to ban Nigeria is threat conceived to shield corruption in Nigeria Football which FIFA and CAF Presidents are beneficiaries with a view to arm twist and intimidate the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The NANF therefore urged the Federal Government to ignore the threat which it described as an empty one, adding that the issue of undue interference by FIFA in the internal affairs of the NFF was resolved in 2011 vide a letter dated 9th of August 2011 from the former Minister of Sports, Mallam Suleiman Yusuf to FIFA and former FIFA President Joseph Blatter’s response of 1st September 2011 after the crisis that engulfed Nigeria Football in 2010.
The NANF in a letter to the minister of Youth and Sports and signed by NANF National President, Mr. Harrison Jalla therefore implored the Federal Government to remain unshaken and ignore the FIFA President, Mr. Gianni Infantino ban issued on the July 13, 2018 in an arranged question and answer session segment of a press briefing in Russia and therefore urged the minister of Sports not to dissipate energy on the matter as stakeholders can handle it.
It noted that the current crisis is a child’s play compared to the 2010 crisis that led to the General Dominic Oneya’s Committee when it was set up to reach amicable resolutions, adding that if that report had been implemented, Nigeria should have averted the current crisis.
According to Jalla; “There was no other option to this noble decision as both parties have benefited from the legal process on its way to the Supreme Court and the NANF indeed emphasised this is our letter to your esteemed office dated 22nd of May 2018.
“The campaign for FIFA ban has been a lucrative business for a section of the media and football stakeholders who are perpetual looters of our football treasury over time.
“Disputes and disagreements are inevitable in any corporate organisation and if properly resolved within the ambit of the law, it goes a long way to deepen, strengthen and properly structure the system. That is why England is running the most successful professional league in the world today. They went through the mill and resolved their disputes within the ambit of their laws.
“We thank you sincerely for standing on the side of truth and justice by insisting that parties in the recent Supreme Court judgment in suit number SC731/2016 should comply with the judgment.”
The NANF said it has in the light of the foregoing formally informed FIFA in a letter dated 11th of June 2018 to steer clear of the current situation in Nigeria having been a party with the federal government to proffer solution to NFF internal crisis in 2011.
The association particularly said that the positions Amaju Pinnick occupies in FIFA and CAF were fraudulently acquired having not been improperly elected NFF President in the first instance.
It demanded that Pinnick should be relieved of such positions forthwith and in addition to the fact a criminal investigation has been launched against him over alleged N15 billion diversion of sponsorship funds of the NFF by Coach James Peters and the over N4 billion Delta state Sports Commission funds allegedly diverted under Amaju Pinnick.
Jalla specifically noted that the norm in FIFA/CAF remains that any of its Executive member under criminal investigation steps down until such investigation is concluded.
NANF further said that it made unambiguously clear to FIFA that she is unduly interfering in NFF internal affairs and attempt to cover up or shield corruption and its tendencies in Nigeria.
In Jalla words; “The NANF will have no option than to file a suit in the international court of justice in the Hague against FIFA.
“The NANF has filed a recent action in court dated 5th May 2018 in suit number FHC/L/CS/947/2018 to restrain the purported electoral committee set up by the Amaju Pinnick board from conducting any election arising from the decision of the recent Supreme Court judgment.”