Festus Keyamo (SAN), the counsel to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick has described the directive issued by the Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung for leadership change in the NFF as null, void and of no effect for the following.
In a press statement he personally signed yesterday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria held that court orders are not binding on FIFA, stressing that since the NFF is an affiliate of FIFA which has consistently maintained that this same matter has been taken to the highest Court of Sports Arbitration in Switzerland by these same individuals and have lost, it has since upheld the decision of the Court of Arbitration and recognized the NFF Board led by Amaju Pinnick.
“The end result is that Chris Giwa and his so-called Board members do not have any locus standi with regards to footballing matters and the Federal Government CANNOT have any dealing with them on any footballing matter. The obvious implication of all these is that if any attempt is made to recognize Chris Giwa and derecognize Amaju Pinnick and his Board, FIFA will definitely impose a lengthy ban on Nigeria from all football competitions locally and internationally.”
Keyamo added that his clients have taken steps to vacate the orders given by the Federal High Court in Jos, noting however that the orders were given against Amaju Pinnick and his Board members, who are not parties to the case and were never served.
He disclosed that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, “a few weeks ago, has already advised (by a letter dated 13th June, 2018) that the matter is subjudice, and that Government cannot intervene at this point. He advised all parties to await the final determination of the case.”
He insisted that it was a desperate Giwa, “in an attempt to assume office at all cost, sneaked back to court to obtain these ex-parte (one-sided) orders prompting the office of the Attorney-General to issue yet another advice again dated June 26, 2018, advising compliance to the court order.”
While admitting that his clients are “very shocked” with the position of the Sports Minister, Keyamo pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari “to instruct the Minister of Sports to engage strong legal representation to challenge these court orders that were given without hearing from anyone or joining anyone on the other side (including the Minister of Sports).”
He also urged the President to direct all parties and law enforcement agencies to await a full determination of the case before doing anything in this regard as a result of the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sports, which is also enforceable in Nigeria.