- Presidency has finally reacted to reports claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the prosecution of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick
- Senior Special Assistant to the President on (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu denied the alleged press release claiming it is "fake news"
- Shehu further stressed that the President Buhari remains committed to the due processes of the law and will not make such assumptions
The Presidency have directed the immediate withdrawal of a press release in circulation, claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari directed the arrest and prosecution of the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick.
According to Senior Special Assistant to the President on (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, the alleged press release is "fake news" .
"Anyone familiar with the President’s unmitigated and unshakable commitment to the due processes of the law will not make such assumptions of the President.
"The position of the President that allegations of criminal nature should be addressed only by investigation and law enforcement agencies, within the framework of the law has not changed.
"It is not in the nature of President Buhari to say go and arrest that man or woman as formed the practice in the past.
"Rather, he allows all allegations of this nature to be addressed using the mechanism of the rule of law even as law enforcement and investigation agencies should not in any way be hampered in performing their duties.
"At the same time, nobody should drop names to seek to influence the course of those investigations," Shehu stressed.
Earlier, reports in circulation had it that President Buhari has approved the immediate prosecution of NFF president Amaju Pinnick, over an alleged financial scam running into billions in the football house.
According to Punch, Buhari ordered Pinnick’s prosecution after receiving the Okoi Obono-Obla preliminary investigation report, which allegedly indicted the former Delta state sports commissioner.
Interestingly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also submitted another report from their findings to Mr. President, highlighting most financial activities already spotted by the Obono-Obla’s panel.
EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu also confirmed to Buhari via a six-page report that the anti-graft agency had investigated and prosecuted eggheads in the NFF that includes the Director, Finance and Administration, Christopher Andekin; Head, Finance and Administration, NFF, Jafaru Mamzah along with a cashier in NFF’s Finance and Administration department, Rajan Zaka over his role in an alleged scam involving financial payments from Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and Confederation of African Football (CAF) to NFF between 2014 and 2016.
Buhari was reportedly furious with the findings over the alleged massive scam and ordered for Pinnick’s immediate prosecution.
He also charged the EFCC’s boss to further carry out a discreet investigation into financial remittances in the football house between 2017 and 2018.
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Magu, equally informed Buhari about another petition dated April 24, 2016 captioned ‘Monumental stealing and financial crisis in the Nigeria Football Federation’, from James Peters of Amal Pepple Estate, Abuja.
“Investigation into this petition has so far established that the NFF has sponsorship deals with 21 corporate organisation. The investigation further revealed that between 2008 and 2018, 11 out of the 21 corporate organisations made sponsorship payment of N5,288,990,000 and $1,550,000 to NFF as against the amounted stated in the ministers’ letter under reference above.
“One of the companies appointed as financial consultant to the NFF is owned by the 2nd Vice President of the NFF in person of Alhaji Shehu Dikko. The audit trail of the funds and its utilisation is currently ongoing with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable of any offence,” Magu submitted.
Earlier, Legit.ng had reported how Stephen Keshi stadium in Asaba, Delta state was confirmed as venue for the international friendly match between the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt.
The country's ruling football body known as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are said to have confirmed this according to the report.
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