In a desperate bid to avoid being arraigned in court for corruption, top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), have continued to run from pillar to post seeking the help of “powerful backers” and even a government security agency.
NFF president Amaju Pinnick, vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, executive committee member Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi are due to appear tomorrow at the Federal High Court in Abuja on a 17-count charge for corruption.
The same officials are also being investigated by both the EFCC and ICPC on various other allegations.
A top source informed SCORENigeria: “The officials are not relaxing in their homes and just waiting to go down.
“They have reached out to their connections in high places including a deputy director of a security agency to reach out to the Presidency on their behalf.
“Their defence is that the witch hunt against them is targeted at the country and not at them personally.
“That Nigeria risks losing out on hosting next year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup and that sponsors have been discouraged from supporting football in the country as a result of what they term as a campaign of calumny.”
SCORENigeria first reported that both Pinnick and Shehu Dikko dashed out to the chief of staff in the Presidency, Abba Kyari, when ICPC seized their properties as the anti-graft agency stepped up its corruption probe of the NFF.
However, several respected stakeholders including former NFF presidents Ibrahim Galadima and Kojo Williams have asked the affected officials to step down so that Nigeria football could move forward.
“It’s either the anti-corruption agencies have their facts to go on with the investigations or the federation officials take the honourable way out, which is to give way for things to be worked out,” Galadima said.
“We saw the head of service (of the federation) step aside to allow for investigations.
“They need to clear their names, they need to prove they are innocent of the charges against them.”