Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court yesterday ordered the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and four others to appear before it over the alleged misappropriation of $8,400 belonging to the football body.
Justice Ijeoma Ojokwu specifically ordered that Pinnick and other defendants in the 17-count charge appear before the court on November 5.
The order followed the absence of the defendants in court against the order compelling their appearance in court yesterday.
Others charged with the NFF president are the NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and Yusuff Fresh, an executive member.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had earlier issued a warrant of arrest against four officials of the NFF in the case brought by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP), now disbanded by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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.
Although the defendants were cited at the court premises, they did not enter the courtroom.
Justice Ojokwu frowned at the altitude of the defendants, the prosecution and defence counsel for disobeying her order directing the appearance of the defendants in court.
When the case was called, Dr. Celsius Ukpong, who filed the charge on behalf the defunct Okoi Obono-Obla-led SPIP, informed the court that the panel has been disbanded by president Buhari.
Ukpong said in view of the directive of the president, the activities and functions of the panel have been transferred to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
He added that the case file containing the charge and other processes have been transferred to the office of the AGF.
“It was the panel that filed the charges. But we have been disbanded by President Muhammadu Buhari and directed to handover all our activities to the office of the AGF. In view of the new development, we believe that the office of the AGF will do justice to this matter, “ Ukpong said.
Collaborating this position, a lawyer from the office of the AGF, Abubakar Musa, told the court that the case file is in transition to the office of the AGF following the scraping of the SPIP by the president.
He further informed the court that there was the need to harmonise all pending cases regarding the defendants by the office of the AGF.
He, therefore, prayed for an adjournment to have access to the file and comply with the orders of the court.