- …Minister summons emergency meeting
By Amaechi Agbo
Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday, ejected Chris Giwa-led Nigeria Football Federation board out office with immediate effect.
Giwa and the staff who occupied the NFF secretariat on July 2 were barred from entering the Glass House, secretariat of NFF in Abuja.
The DSS operatives, who carried out the ejection exercise on Monday, said they were working on instructions from above.
According to one of the DSS personnel who spoke anonymously, he said the security men were acting on presidential orders from the Nigeria President, Muhammad Buhari after he was briefed about the issue on Friday by staff of his office.
On July 2, factional leader Chris Giwa took over the NFF leadership following an ordered by the sports minister, Solomon Dalung, in compliance with a verdict from the Supreme Court.
Giwa’s faction had announced the appointment of Emmanuel Ikpeme as the new acting general secretary, which, by the latest action from the presidency, has been reversed.
Secretary-General of the NFF Dr. Muhammed Sanusi was also reinstated by the men of the DSS alongside other members of the Pinnick-led board of the NFF who were forcefully ejected out of office by the Giwa faction, using an order from the Supreme Court.
A few hours after the exercise, Muhammed Sanusi, Secretary-General of the NFF, was led to his office by the DSS operatives.
Amaju Pinnick has also been directed to return back to his post as president of the NFF and moves are already underway to have the court case against his board evacuated from the High Court in Jos.
World Football governing body, FIFA, had threatened to ban Nigeria if the crisis rocking the federation was not resolved and Amaju Pinnick reinstated as NFF president.
Pinnick had been away supervising the CAF roundtable symposium on Africa’s performance at the recently-concluded 2018 Russia World Cup.
In a similar vein, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has summoned an emergency meeting of stakeholders for a round-table parley to deliberate on the leadership crisis that factionalized the Nigeria Football Federation.
The meeting started yesterday at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
A letter summoning the FA chairmen and secretaries to the meeting was signed by Simeon Oduyebo, a director of EDP in the ministry on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The stakeholders are to be accommodated at the expense of the Federal
The letter acknowledged that the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on the parallel NFF board elections had thrown up a number of challenges for the administration of NFF.
“In consideration of the far reaching implications of the above development and the genuine concern for long term development of the sport of football in Nigeria, I am directed to invite you, as a core stakeholder in the Nigeria football, to a dialogue meeting with the Honourable Minister,” the letter dated July 20, 2018 said.
Nigerian football administration has been marred by intrigues since the Supreme Court delivered ruling in June on the matter between Chris Giwa and Amaju Pinnick, seeking interpretation on who was the legal president of NFF.
Dalung, acting on the legal advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami directed that the Supreme Court order favouring Giwa should be upheld.
But FIFA has declared the Nigerian government action as an act of interference and has warned the country risked a ban from all international football activities.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino had during the World Cup final in Russia declared Giwa as an impostor and has insisted that the international body recognised only Pinnick as the validly elected NFF President.