A group, Concerned Football Patriots (CFP), has alleged that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, is making frantic efforts to shield the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, and other accused officials from being prosecuted for the mismanagement of $9.5m FIFA grant.
The group raised the alarm through its Coordinator, Jonas Ahmed.
He described the request of the Ministry of Justice to make a report on the application for harmonization of court cases against the top echelon of NFF as an attempt by the Attorney General to shield the concerned bigwigs in the Glass House from facing corruption charges.
Ahmed also declared that the vested interest of Malami to ensure that the prosecution of NFF helmsmen, Amaju Pinnick and Sanusi for corruption has become undeniable.
He however described the unpatriotic efforts of the AGF as an insult on the collective sensibilities of Nigerians.
Ahmed said, “The AGF has shown that he is insensitive to the plight of the youth in this country whose future has been mortgaged due to the unconscionable looting of the treasury of NFF by those in-charge of its affairs”.
It will be recalled that an application by the EFCC prosecution counsel, Stephen Odiase seeking to amend an earlier charge to join Amaju Pinnick and Mohammed Sanusi who are principal conspirators in the looting of the funds.
However, in a sudden twist of event, the AGF sent to the court Abubakar Musa who is one of the lawyers in his office to pray the court for an adjournment to allow the AGF harmonize all the cases in the various courts.
He did not present a proper foundation for this application because the EFCC prosecution counsel, Stephen Odiase who is the one prosecuting the accused persons became mysteriously absent from court on the same day without any explanation or excuse.
Meanwhile, the group has attributed the failure of NFF to execute any developmental programme and project to the festering corruption in the Glass House.
Ahmed also expressed worry that the AGF has chosen to take side with the manifestly corrupt administrators in spite of the incontrovertible evidence of their monumental theft of the grant released by FIFA for developmental projects.
“The AGF, who is supposed to be the legal arrowhead in the fight against corruption that will liberate the country from poverty, is sadly the one fighting with zeal and determination to shield NFF officials that have already been investigated and charged by the anti-corruption agencies of the government.
“The decision of the AGF to have hurriedly deployed Abubakar Musa to court to apply for adjournment of the matter at the time the presiding judge was ready to rule on the application to amend and join the NFF bigwigs in the suit was uncomfortably suspicious.
” It was not a coincidence that Steve Odiase, the EFCC prosecuting counsel who made the application for Messrs Pinnick and Sanusi to be joined as co-defendants in the case was absent the very day that Malami sent another counsel from his office to seek adjournment of the matter”, lamented Ahmed.
However, the group has also made it clear that the position of football stakeholders in the country is that the AGF should hands off the case and allow justice to prevail.
“Are they happy with the state of our football? Isn’t it clear now that football is dying in the country? What future lies ahead for the talented youth of this country if this corruption spree is allowed to continue?
“Does he want the youth to get fully engaged in social vices and give us more security challenges in the country?
“Abubakar Malami should please allow the anti-graft agencies to carry out their constitutional responsibility of ridding this country of endemic corruption”, added Ahmed.