The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Thursday ordered Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick and four other senior officials to appear before it on November 5 on corruption charges.
In July, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court ordered the arrest of four officials namely NFF vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, general secretary Mohammed Sanusi and executive committee member Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ after they did not honour judicial summons.
And on Thursday, Ojukwu said even though the prosecution, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the recovery of public property(SPIP), has been disbanded and all matters involving it have been taken over by the Attorney General of the Federation, it is the court which has the right to determine the case.
Ojukwu maintained that the Attorney General could not be “a parallel court” after his representative, Abubakar Musa, claimed Pinnick and the other officials appeared before him.
The judge further said she only adjourned the case because there is now no prosecution counsel following the disbandment of the Presidential Panel.
“The matter is still alive and pending in court,” she declared.
“They have to appear in court.
“I made a definite order, you cannot ignore it and constitute a parallel court.”
The Presidential Panel brought a 17-count charge against the top football officials, which included embezzlement and mismanagement of funds meant for football development.
“The Attorney General has taken over the matter following the disbandment of the Presidential Panel,” explained Abubakar Musa, who represented the Attorney General.
“He did that to forestall abuse of court processes.”
The accused NFF officials were represented by their counsel, Sani Katu.
“Time will tell. Let’s wait and see,” Katu said when asked what will happen on November 5, when all the officials have to appear.
Interestingly, both Pinnick and Sanusi were sighted at the court premises, but did not appear inside the court.