By Emmanuel Afonne
The National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) has pleaded with Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to intervene in the current leadership tussle in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) by ensuring the laws of the land are obeyed.
President of NANF Harrison Jalla, made the plea in Abuja on Wednesday when he led scores of protesters on a peaceful demonstration demanding the withdrawal of operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) occupying the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that DSS operatives have occupied the country’s football house for about a month now following the leadership tussle between Amaju Pinick-led board and the Chris Giwa faction of the NFF.
The Giwa-led board had taken over control at the NFF secretariat on July 2 following a Supreme Court ruling which 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.
They were however, chased out of office by men of the DSS who claimed to be working according to a presidential directive in spite the court ruling.
Giwa and his men had dragged the Pinnick-led board to the Apex Court, to set aside the verdict of the Appeal Court which overturned the ruling of a Federal High Court that had relisted the case after an out-of-court settlement failed.
Jalla, however, told newsmen that the decision of the DSS to occupy the NFF secretariat was an obstruction of justice and that it was inimical to the development of football in the country.
“We are here to plead with the Acting President that the DSS cannot continue to occupy the glasshouse; there is a Supreme Court judgment.
“We are not in a jungle; we want the DSS to vacate the premises of the NFF and we are saying that the decision of the judiciary must be respected.
“The DSS operatives have been here for over one month trying to cause obstructions; they are beating staff of the NFF and we cannot run football like this.
“We ask them to withdraw and we promise to come back tomorrow in another different method.
“The DSS authorities told us earlier that their men will vacate the NFF premises on Monday but today is Wednesday, they are still here,” Jalla said.
He further said that they would send a delegation to brief the acting president on the activities of the DSS operatives.
NAN reports that the protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “FG sack DSS Director of Operation; Nigeria is a creation of law, DSS please obey the laws of the land and No to impunity, no to DSS occupation of NFF”.