Nigeria face FIFA hammer as NFF case adjourns


Nigeria may yet be at another risk of a FIFA ban after a High Court in Jos failed to deliver judgement on Tuesday in the case between Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick and his challenger Chris Giwa.

The four year-old matter was expected to be resolved, even though partially, on Tuesday but it was adjourned to September 25.

Pinnick has been the NFF President since 2014 but a Supreme Court ruling in June asked that the case be started afresh at the lower court.

Tuesday was fixed to hear a new motion filed by Pinnick, challenging the ex parte order the court granted Giwa in June which enabled Giwa to take over the office on July 2.

Giwa is not recognised by FIFA as he is serving a ban. He also lost the case with Pinnick at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is the highest adjudicator in sporting matters.

Justice Musa Kurya, the Presiding judge in the case between Yahaya Adama and Aminu Maigari, had, on June 5, given an ex parte order asking Pinnick’s NFF leadership to vacate the Glass House for the Giwa-led executive according to Nigerian newspapers.

But Pinnick, through his counsel, Festus Keyamo (SAN), approached the court with two motions demanding the vacation of the order granted Giwa and others, pending the determination of an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

But on Tuesday the matter did not go the way it was expected. Instead of finally resolving the case, drama ensued as both sets of lawyers failed to agree on certain processes and the Judge adjourned to 25 September as the court is on vacation.

Amaju’s lawyer Festus Keyamo however advised the court not to take such a long date as FIFA is waiting for the outcome of the suit to take a decision on Nigeria.

He added that an imminent ban looms for Nigerian football if the right steps are not taken by the parties involved.

Counsel to the parties had admitted that FIFA had written them on the consequences of the current situation and Keyamo showed the court a copy of a letter from FIFA.

The grave implication of the adjournment and failure to resolve the case is that Giwa will continue to claim leadership of the NFF in defiance of his lack of recognition by FIFA and the global body could ban the country.

However, the NFF have to report their domestic situation to FIFA for the global governing body to act. The only NFF recognised by FIFA is the one headed by Pinnick, who is also the Vice-president of the Confederation of African Football.

A FIFA ban would mean the Super Eagles would not be able to play their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles in September, while the Super Falcons, Falconets, other national teams and Enyimba, who are in the CAF Confederation Cup, would also be affected.