National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to promptly intervene after alleging that outgoing Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami plans to bungle the corruption trial of top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick as well as his vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, executive committee member Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi are set to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday after they were charged by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) for alleged corruption.
In a petition signed by NANF president Harrison Jalla and dated May 24, 2019, the players’ union alleged that top officials have been compromised and so the AGF office ordered SPIP to hand over the case file.
“Mr President, we are constrained to draw your attention to an ongoing strategy to bungle the ongoing proceedings in FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019 (Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Amaju Melvin Pinnick and others) in which a whooping $16.5 million was stolen from the coffers of the Nigeria Football Federation,” said the petition.
“Your Excellency, we are aware of alleged clandestine meetings between the outgoing Attorney General of the Federation, the Director of Public Prosecutions and top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, where money was alleged to have changed hands.
“After a painstaking and thorough investigation of one of the most financially reckless parastatal in the country, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) in a matter which the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) is a complainant.
“The SPIP after due process charged those indicted to court.
“The office of the Attorney General relying on an arranged spurious petition from the accused persons already charged to court brazenly in an orchestrated manner with intent to compromise the ongoing proceedings wrote an official letter dated 22-05-2019 to the chairman of the SPIP to hand over the file (charge number (FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019).
“Your Excellency, the reason adduced by the AGF office is too elementary to stop or compromise the ongoing proceedings as the case referred to is on appeal at the Supreme Court, which has returned the position to status quo.
“The action of the AGF office is a gross violation of the Presidential Executive Order No 6 of 2018 on preservation of suspicious assets connected with corruption and relevant offences.”
The petition added that this is not the first time the AGF has shielded the accused persons from the law, citing the case involving a Supreme Court ruling against the NFF, which eventually led to face-off between the AGF and the sports minister.
The petition has since been dispatched variously to President Buhari.