EARLIER this week, Nigeria Football Federation submitted documents requested by a Federal High Court in Abuja to justify absence of its top officials in court over alleged misappropriation of $8.4m and N4bn.
The case was adjourned till September 26. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on Monday issued a warrant of arrest against four officials of the NFF in the case brought by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel.
Ojukwu issued the bench warrant on the four top officials of the NFF for their failure to appear in court to answer to the charges.
But when the defendant’s lawyer, Mr Olawole Olaniji, holding brief of Mohammed Katu, argued that they were absent because of their official roles at the Africa Cup of Nations, Justice Ojukwu said the warrant would not be implemented if the NFF officials provide proof.
Those affected by the order are the NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and an Executive member, Yusuff Fresh.
Contrary to reports, Ojukwu exempted the NFF President, Mr.Amaju Pinnick, from those ordered arrested due to his official roles as a member of the Confederation of African Football’s organising committee.
The NFF in a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Ademola Olajide, said the requested proof was filed by Katu and addressed to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.
Among the attached documents were copies of entry visas into Egypt, and Europe, for those of them who traveled direct from the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France to Egypt.
The statement quoted the covering note of the submitted documents as stating that “in compliance with the proceedings of 1st July 2019 wherein this honourable court directed the issuance of a Bench Warrant against the 2nd – 5th Defendants (Seyi Akinwunmi, Shehu Dikko, Sanusi Mohammed and Yusuf Ahmed Fresh) which shall abate upon the submission of evidence of participation in the ongoing Total Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt 2019.
“We are thus forwarding, herewith, the Official Accreditation Documents for the tournament of the defendants and travelling documents to Egypt evidencing their participation and official status as representatives of Nigeria at the continental tournament, which necessitated their absence in court on 1st July 2019.”