Nigeria: Court Vacates Arrest Warrant Against Amaju Pinnick, Others

17 January 2019

An Abuja Chief Magistrate District Court 11 sitting at Wuse Zone 2, has put in abeyance the warrant of arrest it had issued previously to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) headed by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla against the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and four others. The four others are the federation's two vice presidents, Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, a board member, Ahmed Yusuf and Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, who is the board's General Secretary.

The NFF had challenged the warrant for its officials' arrest, saying it was obtained erroneously as it was ultra vires the enabling law establishing the SPIP.

Its counsel, Muhammed Sani Katu, who argued the application marked MN/04/2019, challenged the jurisdiction of the court, among others.

He therefore urged the court to vacate the arrest order.

Having reviewed the matter, the court held that there was no basis for a warrant of arrest to be issued against NFF officials under the law.

Reacting to the decision, Katu said: "Notwithstanding this positive and deserved outcome expected by our clients, we hold unto their firm instructions to pursue with utmost diligence and determination suit no. FC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 pending separately at the Federal High

Court, Abuja, which our clients have instituted against Chief Obono-Obla and SPIP for violating our clients' rights under the law and, acting contrary to the enabling law setting up SPIP.

"For the avoidance of any doubt, our clients reiterate most categorically that there are no charges against them existing anywhere, as they have not committed any crime under the law, whatsoever.

"They maintain that this whole lamentable matter is nothing more than the machination of some persons who are adverse to competing fairly for the leadership of NFF, but desperately wish to be foisted on the federation by external forces, who are apparently misled. Our clients are, therefore, confident that this conspiracy will surely be defeated in time."

He on behalf of the NFF thanked the federation's sponsors, partners and other stakeholders for their steadfast loyalty and support, adding that they should be rest assured that NFF remains committed to the orderly, transparent and accountable management of its affairs at all times, in keeping with best global standards.

Katu regretted that some persons were determined to rubbish the reputation of some principal officers of the NFF having earlier failed to wrest the leadership of the board forcefully from them.

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