The president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Melvin Pinnick is running so scared of the law of the land that now his lawyers are demanding an adjournment to Thursday’s hearing in the EFCC case against top officials for alleged diversion of FIFA and CAF grants.
The EFCC is asking to join approving authorities Pinnick and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi in the alleged theft of over $10 million by account staffers of the NFF.
Lawyers to the NFF have now asked the court to move the case because they will not be available.
In a letter dated May 28, 2019 and signed by Arinze Egbo for Keyamo Chambers, the NFF counsel asked for new dates to the case.
Last month, these same lawyers had profusely pleaded to be given time to get details of the suit at the magistrate court.
Justice Peter Affen had graciously granted the NFF lawyers 30 days within which to furnish him with particulars of their claim that the same case was before a magistrate court.
And the EFCC counsel generously gave in to this prayer.
This again displays the “delay and dodge” tactics the NFF bosses have used not to appear before the court of justice.
In the other corruption trial initiated by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the recovery of public property (SPIP), the accused NFF officials first jumped administrative bail, before they ran to court challenging the capacity of the anti-graft agency to arrest and prosecute them.
Their prayer for an interlocutory injunction against the SPIP was duly thrown out by the court.
Pinnick and the others then scurried to the outgoing Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
First, they alleged that SPIP chairman Okoi Obono Obla was biased against them.
The AGF office subsequently fired a letter demanding SPIP hand over the case file to it.
On Tuesday, SPIP lawyers reported that the NFF officials have been “dodging” judicial summons and so the need to apply for another means to serve them.
Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu has now permitted them to serve them the summons at their office address for all five accused persons to appear before her unfailingly on July 1.
The main question is – why will Pinnick and the other accused persons be running scared of the law?
It is because they have what a top legal expert simply described as “a terrible case”.
The allegations of corruption, which have now been elevated to court charges, have been most damning and it is just a matter of time before all is brought to public glare.
Rhetoric, vehement denials on television stations, photo opportunities to slowing down the wheel of justice will not clear your family name that you claim has been dragged in the mud for too long.
Go before the court of justice and plead your innocence.
By Samm Audu