Nigeria escapes FIFA ban as FG reinstate Pinnick


Francesca  Iwambe -Abuja

Crises looming the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) assumed a different dimension on Monday as operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) ejected the NFF self-imposed leader, Christopher Giwa from the secretariat.

Believed to be acting on the order of President Mohammadu Buhari, the DSS directed Pinnick to assume office with immediate effect.

The president’s office was also cleared in readiness for the resumption of the Amaju Pinnick who will return to Nigeria tomorrow after supervising the CAF Round Table symposium with the five African representatives to the 2018 Russia World Cup xraying the continent’s poor showing at the biggest soccer competition in the world.

Giwa and his team moved into the NFF Secretariat on July 2nd shortly after the Supreme Court directed the lower court to hear their matter on merit.

FIFA had sent messages to Nigeria about a risk of ban if Amaju Pinnick led board is not allowed to remain in charge if football in Nigeria.

Few hours after Giwa led board were thrown out, the Secretary-General of the NFF, Dr. Muhammed Sanusi, was led to his office by officers of the DSS, where he had resumed his legal duties as the head of the football federation secretariat in Nigeria.

Reacting to the development, Sanusi said, “I am back to my office, and the Pinnick-led board is back.

“When the DSS officials came in, they refused to allow anyone to enter the premises. But I came in and spoke with the staff and urged them to be law-abiding.

“I told them to bear in mind that they are civil servants and should not get involved in the politics. Thereafter, I ushered all into their offices and everyone is going about their duties,’’ he added.

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It could be recalled that the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, had earlier this month,  urged the NFF to comply with a Supreme Court order on Chris Giwa’s 2014 election.

The minister had insisted that the directive was a reaction to a written notification by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice asking the Sports Ministry to ensure compliance.

The development has since prompted FIFA president Gianni Infantino to warn that Nigeria risked being made to face the sanctions the world governing body may apply. Asked if he could see if there was a contradiction in federal government’s actions on the matter, Sanusi said: “I don’t think that there is any contradiction in government’s actions in this matter.

“If government had given directives (earlier), we would not have been where we are’’.

He, however, assured that the situation was not going to affect the development and organisation of football in the country.

“By the grace of God, we are going to do everything humanly possible to move the game forward, and I have always said that honesty is the best policy.”

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