A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick over alleged $8.4m fraud.
The Special Presidential Panel on Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) filed a 17-count charge against Pinnick; General Secretary, Muhammed Sanusi; First Vice President, Oluseyi Akinwumi; and Second Vice President, Shehu Dikko and Executive Commitee member, Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ on allegations of converting to their personal use the sum of $8,400, 000 paid by FIFA to the NFF.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on Monday granted the request by counsel to SPIP, Celsius Ukpong following the absence of Pinnick on the date set for their arraignment.
The judge however said the bench warrant would be vacated if he proves to be part of the Federal Government delegation attending the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
However, the Nigeria Football Federation yesterday said there was “no bench warrant issued against NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick as being wrongly peddled in a section of the media.”
A statement by the NFF Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire said Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja had issued a conditional bench warrant against the other four accused NFF officials exempting Pinnick but instructed the NFF counsel to produce evidence that Akinwumi, Dikko, Sanusi and Yusuf were attending the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“While exempting Pinnick, she issued a conditional bench warrant in this regard, which is no longer in effect as the NFF lawyers (led by Barrister Sani Katu) have complied by taking steps on Monday afternoon to show evidence that the officials are indeed in Egypt.”
Meanwhile, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation had written the SPIP to hands off the prosecution in the matter to enable them takeover.
The matter has been adjourned to September 26 for hearing.