Ban threat: Association to drag FIFA to Int’l Court of Justice

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Protesters demanding withdrawal of DSS operatives from the secretariat of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Abuja
Protesters demanding withdrawal of DSS operatives from the secretariat of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Abuja

By Emmanuel Afonne

The National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) has vowed to drag the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), if it makes good its threat to ban Nigeria from international football activities.

President of the association Harrison Jalla, issued the threat on Friday in Abuja on the heels of FIFA threat to ban Nigeria from participating in international activities after taking its football leadership feud to courts.

Jalla who led another round of peaceful protest against deployment of DSS operatives to the secretariat of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), said FIFA would be violating its own statutes if it bans Nigeria.

He therefore declared that the ban would be challenged in the court if it eventually comes.

“Why is FIFA President Gianni Infantino shielding corruption; we are going to challenge FIFA because we don’t know the section of the regulation of their statues that we have breached that necessitate a ban.

“We are going to take them to International Court of Justice and ensure that justice is done because this is a sovereign nation.

“According to the statues approved for Nigeria, it states that the laws of this country are sacrosanct and that FIFA must operate within the ambit of Nigerian law.

“They must establish the facts why we are going to be banned because the two parties in this feud benefited from the judicial process to the Supreme Court and back.

“Pinnick won at the Court of Appeal, so, why should Nigeria be singled out for ban.

“If we succumb to this threat it will continue; the problem started from 2010 to 2014 and then to 2018, and they want to conduct another election without solving the issues from the two previous election, it’s not possible.

“It is good we reorganise ourselves because we come back from every international competition we go to with disgrace; this is an opportunity to reorganise, so we are waiting for the ban,” Jalla said.

According to Jalla, he will continue to lead a peaceful demonstration to the football secretariat until the DSS operatives are withdrawn.

“We will continue to be here until the DSS operatives vacate the football secretariat. We are doing this because there is a judgment and it says that whoever that won that election should occupy the NFF secretariat.

“The judgment also says that the DSS should assist to enforce that judgment, so we are doing this to tell government that one of its agencies is trying to play above the law.

“We use this medium to plead with the Acting President to withdraw these men from the football house, and until they are withdrawn we will continue to make our presence felt here.

“If there is no justice, there will be no peace; that is one of the issues that brought us here today,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chris Giwa-led board had taken charge at the NFF secretariat on July 2 following a Supreme Court ruling.

The ruling had set aside a 2016 judgment of the Appeal Court on the leadership tussle and sent the case back to the Federal High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State, where it started in September 2014.

Giwa and his men were however, chased out of office by men of the DSS in favour of the Amaju Pinnick- led board.

The DSS claimed to be acting on an order from the presidency. (NAN)


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