SCORENigeria can authoritatively report that embattled NFF president Amaju Pinnick and vice president Shehu Dikko have made a desperate dash to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, the country’s seat of power, to beg Chief of Staff Abba Kyari to stop ICPC from continuing with a massive corruption probe of the football federation.
A top official at the Presidency told only SCORENigeria: “They came to the Villa on Saturday to beg Abba Kyari that he should personally intervene so that they be left off the hook by ICPC.”
Both officials were overseas when their homes were taken into investigation by ICPC.
However, it was further gathered that the anti-corruption agency has damning and compelling evidence of wanton corruption at the NFF and across the various leagues, which has caused it to move full throttle to clean up the football house.
Another source told SCORENigeria he does not believe a top-ranking government official like Abba Kyari will now sabotage the war against corruption, which is one of the pillars of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The top NFF officials have often boasted President Muhammadu Buhari’s trusted chief of staff is a friend and a recent video series which exposed the corruption at the NFF alleged that Kyari is one of the “powerful backers” of the football chiefs, who have variously been investigated by all three of the country’s anti-graft organisations.
Others listed as alleged “powerful backers” of the embattled officials include Minister of Justice and Attorney General Abubakar Malami, minister of state for Niger Delta Festus Keyamo, who until recently was the NFF counsel, and works and housing minister Babatunde Raji Fashola.
The visit of Pinnick and Dikko came just 24 hours after their choice properties in Lagos and Abuja were sealed off by operatives of ICPC as they stepped up investigations into the finances and operations of the NFF.
Recently, Pinnick boasted before FA chairmen in Kaduna that the corruption trial initiated by SPIP, which charged he and four senior officials for embezzlement of $8.4 million 2014 World Cup cash among other crimes, will not see the light of day based on assurances he has received from top government officials.
On Friday, another top NFF official told FA chairmen not to panic because the ICPC action was “just a storm in a tea cup” and that it will also blow away, just like other challenges the NFF executive committee led by Pinnick has faced since it assumed office in September 2014.
Three staffers of the NFF accounts department have been charged to court by EFCC for the alleged theft of over $10 million being grants from both FIFA and CAF meant for the development of football in Nigeria.
The prosecution has now sought to amend the charges by joining Pinnick and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi among the accused persons as this crime could not have been carried out without their approvals.
The stinking rut at the NFF has been brought to the public domain at a time President Buhari has promised to step up the fight against corruption in his second term in office.
The President has famously declared that if Nigeria does not fight corruption, corruption will kill the country.