The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Tuesday dropped a corruption case against the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick and four other senior officials on technical grounds.
NFF vice presidents Shehu Dikko and Seyi Akinwunmi as well as executive committee member Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi were the other officials.
All but Ahmed Yusuf were in court Tuesday.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu said that she had no choice than to discharge the officials based on lack of diligent prosecution.
Defence counsel, Sani Katu, said: “The matter was adjourned till today to allow time for investigation as to whether the defendants should be arraigned or not by the office of the Attorney General which had taken over the matter.
“The office of the Attorney General went and investigated the matter and discovered that the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges.”
The petitioner in this case, former NFF technical director, James Peters, maintained the matter was not dead as more questions than answers have been thrown up by this ruling.
“The case is not over because the ruling has caused more questions than answers,” he insisted.
“For instance, could the defendants be discharged when they have not been arraigned, meaning they are not formally before the court?”
He further said he would explore other options to refile the case outside the office of the Attorney General.
The defunct anti-graft agency Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the recovery of Public Property (SPIP) brought the charges against the NFF officials.
The 16-charges ranged from failure to declare their assets to conflict of interest and alleged misappropriation of $8.4 million paid by world football governing body FIFA to Nigeria for participation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Pinnick and Sanusi will on December 19 know if they will be joined as accused persons in a case filed by EFCC concerning the diversion of over $10 million being FIFA and CAF grants for the development of football in Nigeria.
The NFF officials are also still being investigated by both ICPC and EFCC on various other corruption allegations.