– No bench warrant against NFF President Pinnick
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday adjourned till 26th September 2019, a case brought against some top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP). The NFF officials have continued to deny any wrong-doing and have insisted the case brought by SPIP is baseless, mere persecution and an abuse of court process, as the Federation has a pending matter in the same court challenging SPIP’s jurisdiction.
The NFF has also clarified that there is no bench warrant issued against NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick as being wrongly peddled in a section of the media.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, lawyer to the NFF officials, namely Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick (NFF President); Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi (1st Vice President); Mallam Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President); Alh. Ahmed Yusuf Fresh (Chairman of Technical and Development Committee) and; Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary), informed the court that his clients were on national assignment in the Arab Republic of Egypt, where Nigeria’s Super Eagles are one of the 24 nations participating in the ongoing 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals.
While exempting Mr. Pinnick (who is also CAF 1st Vice President and President of the AFCON organizing committee), Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu instructed the NFF counsel to produce evidence of the other persons, namely Barr. Akinwunmi, Mallam Dikko, Alh. Fresh and Dr. Sanusi being presently in Egypt. She issued a conditional bench warrant in this regard, which is no longer in effect as the NFF lawyers (led by Barrister Sani Katu) have complied by taking steps on Monday afternoon to show evidence that the officials are indeed in Egypt.
The NFF chieftains have since petitioned the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for an independent review, for which the Office of the AGF has directed the SPIP to submit the files for review.
The court, however, failed to hear the application of the NFF officials against the SPIP with regards to the panel’s jurisdiction and the court’s order for substituted service, despite the insistence of the NFF defence counsel.
The NFF legal team will also review the entire ruling to determine if there is need to appeal on the face of the fact that the court has delved into substantive matter without resolving the NFF objection on SPIP jurisdiction pending since January 2019.