The head of the legal team to Amaju Pinnick and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Festus Keyamo, has accused the minister of youth and sports, Solomon Dalung, of falsehood in the lingering NFF crisis.
Mr Keyamo, who also heads President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 election communication team, said in a lengthy press on Sunday that erroneous reports on the facts around the NFF crisis were fuelled by an earlier press release by the office of the minister, dated July 2.
He said it was thus necessary to put the record straight as many now hold the opinion that the Nigerian government is backing an illegality in publicly affirming their recognition for Mr Pinnick.
This is in the wake of a threat by FIFA to suspend Nigeria if the country fails to cede leadership of the NFF to Mr Pinnick as President and Mohammed Sanusi as Scribe.
“There is no Supreme Court order or any other subsisting order restraining Amaju Pinnick from acting as President of the NFF or installing Chris Giwa as president of the NFF,” Mr Keyamo stated.
“We hereby challenge anybody who disputes this to publish the Supreme Court Judgment or Order where the names of Amaju Pinnick or Chris Giwa were ever mentioned in any portion of the judgment or as even parties to the case. The fact is that the court processes filed in the Supreme Court matter do not bear their names as parties to the suit whatsoever,” he added.
Mr Keyamo noted that it is on record that the minister wrote a letter Ref: FMYSD/IKWUET, dated May 7, to the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF) seeking for Legal Opinion on the Supreme Court Judgement (Suite- No: SC/731/2016).
According to him, the HAGF Office duly responded via a letter Ref: LE 29/S.I/11 dated June 13, and averred that upon a critical review of the issues, the office of the HAGF is unable to intervene as the matter is sub-judice, being presently before a competent court (meaning the Federal High Court, to which the matter had been remitted for trial by the Supreme Court).
The office of the HAGF further advised for the parties to wait the final determination of the suit and/or continue to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.
Mr Keyamo also stated that the claim by the minister that both parties (Giwa and Pinnick) went to the court and have benefited at one point or the other, in this regard, is false.
He said: “This is definitely a non-factual statement as Amaju Pinnick and his Board have never ever taken football matters to court or sued any person in an ordinary court of Law over football matters”.
“Amaju Pinnick and his Board are, however, duty bound to respond to any court Summons and appear before the court to explain to the court that the matter, such as this, is a football matter not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.
“This was what was done since 2014 when Giwa’s group sued the NFF. Unfortunately, this motion is still pending before the court in the lamentable circumstances recounted here previously,” he said.
After the letter written to FIFA by Nigeria government, affirming their support for Pinnick, Mr Dalung had insisted that he still stands by the “rule of law”.
However, Mr Keyamo, over the weekend, stated that those championing the rule of law in the NFF crisis are the ones flouting same.
He said: “While they publicly parrot the phrase ‘Rule of Law’ they are at the same time determined to foist upon Nigeria and rest of the football world a deception of the worst order by means of subterfuge and brigandage.
“For their information, the Rule of Law binds Nigeria to International obligations. The Rule of Law says you cannot remove a person from office without hearing from him.
“The Rule of Law says an interim order against such a person cannot last more than 14 days. These individuals who have actively and openly invited the ban of FIFA in the last few days are totally against the development of football and they are mere irritants who are on a mission of vendetta, self-aggrandisement and fraud.”
Mr Keyamo argued that the mandate Chris Giwa has been laying false claims to, has now expired.
He said: “And lastly, for the information of the public, the tenure of office which is the subject of dispute of the case filed by Giwa’s group since 2014, lapses on the 26th of August 2018 – being TODAY.”