The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) faces a fresh siege from the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as investigations into alleged financial malfeasance in the Federation gathered pace on Wednesday.
Several media reports suggest that chieftains of the NFF including president Amaju Pinnick, 2nd-vice president Shehu Dikko and secretary-general Mohammed Sanusi were hauled in for questioning at different locations in Abuja and Lagos.
The reports indicate that the latest siege by the EFCC followed fresh petitions by some aggrieved Nigerians, including the owner of a private Radio station in Abuja.
However, the latest episode in the long-running battle between the NFF and several anti-graft agencies have been dismissed by some NFF board members as another round of “political persecution’ according to The Guardian.
“Nigerian football is facing another round of ‘political persecution’ because there is no basis for this latest round of investigation by the EFCC,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed board member as saying.
Meanwhile, Shehu Dikko is reportedly under EFCC scrutiny for his role as a director in Mediterranean Sports Limited which is allegedly owned by Muhammed Audu, son of former Kogi State Governor Abubakar Audu.
According to reports carried by the New Telegraph, the EFCC allegedly “picked up” Audu last week as they sought to unravel several allegedly corrupt deals at the NFF involving Mediterranean Sports Limited.
The Sports marketing outfit allegedly brokered many sponsorship deals for the NFF but the publication reports that the EFCC is investigating allegations that the company was allegedly used to siphon funds meant for the federation.
Dikko used to be a director at Mediterranean Sports Limited and it is thought that he could have used his influence to facilitate deals for the NFF on behalf of his company in a case that negates the ethics of FIFA.
However, Dikko who is also chairman of the League Management Company has vehemently and repeatedly denied any wrongdoings.
The latest incidents come after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja struck out all corruption cases against the NFF last November.
In February, Justice Peter O. Affen, of the FCT High Court, also declined a motion to add the names of Pinnick and Sanusi to a case of financial misappropriation of $8.4m FIFA grants brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.