Nigerian government pledges non-interference in football crisis

“We will try our best to let FIFA know that there is no government interference and the government does not intend to do so.”

The Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, on Saturday said that the Federal Government had no interest in the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, court case.

Danagogo told journalists in Abuja at NFF’s Extra Ordinary Congress that the government was rather bothered about maintaining peace and order amongst the parties involved in the case.

A Plateau High Court on Wednesday granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining some NFF members from running the affairs of Nigerian football forthwith.

The members included the Chairman, Aminu Maigari, the executive committee members, and the Congress.

In view of this, Danagogo appointed Lawrence Katken, a senior civil servant in the NFF as the Acting General Secretary, pending the determination of the suit.

“I returned from the World Cup to meet a letter from NFF’s General Secretary, Musa Amadu, informing me of a court order against the executive committee of the NFF. And as a law abiding citizen, I have to allow the law to take its course.

“I will not play any role in what is happening because we try as much as possible as government to allow the development of our various sports in a professional manner. 

“And it is the professionals that are discussing, but I hope that whatever decisions they will take will be in the best interest of the game and the country. 

“This is because Nigeria is a country where a big junk of our population are sports lovers. 

“So, those who are representing the various sports should bear in mind the citizenry of this country and ensure peace and progress,’’ Danagogo said.
According to him, we need to do well and win laurels for this country.
The minister, who is also the Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, said the commission was aware of the warning letter from FIFA on avoiding government interference in football administration.  

He said the NSC would try as much as possible to let FIFA be aware that there was no government interference and there would be none. 

FIFA, on Friday sent a warning letter to the NFA, saying its affiliates had to manage their affairs without “third party influence’’.
The letter read in part “if the NFA officials are not fully reinstated by July 8, the case would be referred to the appropriate FIFA bodies for sanctions, including NFA’s potential suspension’’.

“I am aware of the letter from FIFA but the fact remains that there is no government interference. We will try our best to let FIFA know that there is no government interference and the government does not intend to do so. 

“But I can assure you, I will not interfere beyond doing what is needful statutorily, even by FIFA’s rule, beyond ensuring that there is a peaceful atmosphere,’’ Danagogo said.

He added that the government was just performing its duty of maintaining peace and order between the aggrieved parties.

Government, Danagogo said, had the primary responsibility to maintain peace and order.
According to him, if two persons are fighting and the court gives an order, it is the duty of the executive to obey the law and ask parties to pursue the case.

“What we are doing as government now is to tell both sides to relax and go before the court and FIFA to settle their matter and that is the only thing that we will do.

The minister said NSC was not interested in interfering in any sport.
“We won’t interfere because we want the best professionals to handle their games.  

“So, what we are doing as a government is for both sides who are Nigerians and stakeholders to maintain their calm, peace, law and order. 

“And if it is the court that can settle it for them, fine; if it is FIFA, they should settle it with FIFA, but we won’t allow them to fight and we will not go beyond that.’’

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