Judge Fumes as Nigeria Football Federation officials refuses to appear in court

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday frowned at the refusal of four officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to appear in court over alleged $8.4 million and N4 billion fraud case.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on July 1 issued a warrant of arrest for the four men following their repeated refusal to appear in court to answer to the fraud case charges against them.

The Federal Government had through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property charged them over alleged misappropriation of the sums belonging to the NFF.

The officials are NFF President Amaju Pinnick; NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko; and an executive member, Yusuff Fresh; as the 1st to 5th respondents respectively.

Pinnick was exempted from the ordered arrest due to his official roles as a member of the Confederation of African Football’s organising committee at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Justice Ojukwu said that their duty was to be in court when ordered as the charges against them before the court had not been cancelled.

She said that when an order was given, it was expected that such order be obeyed otherwise matters from such agencies will no longer be entertained in her court.

“Nobody is bigger than the law,” she said.

Counsel to the defendants, Mohammed Katu, said that the respondents were absent because the president had instructed that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) take over the case from the office of Special Presidential Investigation Panel.

He said that the AGF had earlier called the attention of the respondents to his office and in view of the recent development he believed the AGF would do justice to prosecute the matter.

Justice Ojukwu said that the defendants had no reason to appear before any agency thereby constituting a parallel hearing in disobedience to the court when the matter was already before a judge.

Ojukwu adjourned the matter to October 5 for arraignment and ordered that all affected parties be in court.

 

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