Abuja - The Sports Committee of the House of Representatives
of the Federal Republic on Thursday insisted that there is no crisis in the
Nigeria Football Federation, as there is no dispute whatsoever that Amaju
Melvin Pinnick remains the President of the nation’s football body.
At an interactive session with top officials of the Federal
Ministry of Youth and Sports led by the Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon
Dalung and chieftains of the NFF led by 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman Shehu
Dikko, the House Committee headed by Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan expressed concern
that a group led by Chris Giwa had been threatening the peace of Nigeria
football and courting a FIFA sanction for the country.
The House Committee’s move followed a motion of ‘urgent
national importance’ moved on the floor of the House of Representatives on
Monday, 16th May 2016, and the nation’s lower parliament thereafter mandated
its Sports Committee to handle the matter.
At Thursday’s session at the National Assembly, Dalung, the
Director of Legal Services in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Barr.
Olatigbe Johnson and the NFF’s Head of Legal, Barr. Okey Obi fully established
that there is presently no court order nullifying the election of the current
NFF Board, or asking Chris Giwa to take over at the NFF.
In a press release sent to News24, Dalung remarked: “When the Giwa group served a notice of
discontinuance to the court in October 2014, the court struck out the case and
made it clear that the case was dead. I don’t know anyone else who has been
able to raise the dead except Jesus Christ!
“What the court did on April 8 was simply to re-list the
case for hearing. It did not sack the NFF Board and certainly did not ask Giwa
to go and take over the NFF.”
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Specifically, both Johnson and Obi read out the portion of
the order made by Hon. Justice L. Allagoa, when the plaintiff withdrew the case
in October 2014: “The Plaintiff having withdrawn this suit; all the orders made
previously including the dissolution of the executive committee/Board of the
Nigerian Football Federation vide the order of this honourable Court dated 23rd
day of October 2014 seizes to have life and this matter stands struck out.”
Additionally, Obi read out a clarification made by the Honourable
Judge himself, dated 22nd April 2016: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Order
referred to in Order 3 is the restoration of the Order made by my predecessor,
my learned brother Hon. Justice L. Allagoa when he stated that:
“Order 50 Rule 2 of the Federal High Court rules 2009”: The
Plaintiff having withdrawn this suit, all Orders made previously including
dissolution of the Executive Committee (Board of) Nigerian Football Federation
vide the Order of this Honourable Court dated 23rd October 2014 seizes to have
life and this matter stands struck out.”
NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, pointed
out that in football, there are clear channels for dispute resolution, away
from the ordinary court. He noted that Mr. Giwa had taken his case to the
highest sports court - Court of Arbitration for Sports – and lost.
“If he had won at CAS, everyone in the Nigeria football
family would have been obliged to submit to him. He lost. So, he should respect
football rules and wait for the next elections.
“Some of the persons who took part in the ‘elections’ where
Giwa claims to have been ‘elected’, also participated in the Warri elections
that brought in Amaju Pinnick! Yet, some of them are strangely clinging to a
‘mandate’ supposedly given them alongside Giwa.”
Dikko also referred to recent cases involving Egypt and
Benin Republic, saying that the threat of a ban looms large. “FIFA recently
slammed a two –year ban on Benin Republic from all competitions because some
persons went to court and stopped the elections into the Executive Committee of
its football federation.
“We have the case in Egypt where some persons went to court
against elections that were conducted in 2012, and the court gave a ruling that
the Minister of Sports should dissolve the Executive Committee. The Minister of
Sports in Egypt has refused to do that because he knows the consequences.”
Article 68.2 of the FIFA Statutes states: “Recourse to
ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the
FIFA regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts for all types of provisional
measures is also prohibited.”
Articles 69.1 of the NFF Statutes states: “NFF, its Members,
Players, Officials and match and player’s agents will not take any dispute to
ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in these Statutes and FIFA
regulations. Any disagreement shall be submitted to the jurisdiction of FIFA,
CAF, WAFU or NFF.”
However, it is important to understand that this rule does
not deny a party with a complaint from seeking justice before a judicial body.
Instead of going to a regular court, the aggrieved party should take the dispute
to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
The House Committee on Sports members were unanimous that
since the matter has such distinct clarity, Giwa has no reason to be laying
claim to the office of NFF President.For
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