The legal battle seeking to compel the League Management Company (LMC) to reinstate Giwa FC into the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has shifted to the Court of Appeal, Jos Division which on Friday enrolled the suit.
LMC’s appeal is against the interim order granted by Mr. Justice I.I. Kunda of the Plateau State High Court, Bukuru on August 12, 2016 in a case filed by one Mustapha Abubakar seeking to reinstate Giwa FC into the NPFL and also reschedule all the games the club was excluded from playing following its expulsion in May. Abubakar claims to be the Chairman of Giwa FC Supporters Club and that his fundamental human rights has been violated.
The LMC through its lawyer, Olumide Olujinmi is asking the Court of Appeal to grant a stay of execution of the lower court’s order and an application for departure from the rules of court to allow for the appeal to be heard as a matter of urgency.
In one of its grounds of appeal, the LMC argued that the said Abubakar has not been shown to have any connection or relationship whatsoever with the LMC or the NPFL and that there was no urgency as required by law for the judge to make the interim order on 12th August, 2016, which is nearly three months after the expulsion of Giwa FC from the NPFL on 22nd May, 2016.
It was also the submission of the LMC that Giwa FC’s interest cannot supersede other interests and urged the plaintiff’s Counsel to seek other judicial remedies to enforce compliance with the court order if he was sure there has been none.
The LMC contends that the suit before the Plateau State High Court is defective since as a fundamental human right case, Giwa FC or its owner Giwa FC Ltd is a company which cannot have fundamental human rights.
The League body had also challenged the jurisdiction of the Jos High Court to grant the interim order, contending that the said Abubakar lacked the locus standi to file the suit on behalf of Giwa FC Ltd, since the only person that can complain about any wrong done to a company is the company itself. The High Court case was adjourned to tomorrow (Monday) when Mr Justice Kunda, sitting as a vacation Judge will consider all the issues and arguments put forward by both Counsels in the matter. But with the matter now enlisted for appeal as CA/T231/2016, it is doubtful if Mr. Justice Kunda will continue with the hearing on the adjourned date.
Giwa FC was expelled by the LMC from the NPLF in May, 2016, for failure to honour and play three matches cumulatively contrary to the provisions of the NPFL 2015/16 Framework and Rules and punishable by expulsion from the League. LMC had reached the decision after a protracted process of appeals and hearings as provided for by the rules of the football governing authorities.