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Court adjourns suit against sports minister, Pinnick until February 6

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has fixed February 6 for the mention of a suit filed against the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and former president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick.

The matter, scheduled for Monday, could not go on, hence, counsel to the parties in the suit agreed on the new date.

The motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1376/2021, Harrison Jalla, Victor Rumson Baribote, Austin Popo and the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) had sued the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Pinnick and the minister as first to third defendants, respectively.

In the motion dated and filed on September 2, the claimants sought an interim order restraining the defendants, his agent, employees, staff, officials or electoral committee from organising or conducting any election into any executive office of the NFF pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

In the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Fayenengigha Jacob, a lawyer in the chamber of Ukpong, he said one of the complaints in the matter was the undemocratic manner in which the NFF was being constituted, resulting in depriving the majority of the stakeholders and members of the NFF of having a say or contributing to the development of football in Nigeria.

According to him, the glory of Nigeria football has nosedived as a result of its undemocratic leadership of the said body.

Jacob said while the matter was still pending in court, the defendants had gone ahead to announce and purportedly try to organise and conduct an election of the said body on September 30 in Edo.

He said the substance of the matter would be defeated should the said election slated for September goes ahead without hearing of the pending motions and substantive matter.

The lawyer to the claimants, Celsus Ukpong, moved the ex-parte motion on September 15. Justice Inyang Ekwo restrained the minister and Pinnick from conducting the NFF executive election scheduled for September 30 in Edo.

Justice Ekwo had ordered them, or any person acting on their instruction, to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, and fixed October 31 for the hearing.

But the NFF filed an appeal against the court order.

In the notice of appeal marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1376/2021, dated September 27 and filed September 28, the NFF (the appellant)’s counsel, Patrick Mekako, prayed the court to set aside its earlier order.

Against this backdrop, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on September 29, vacated the lower court order restraining the conduct of the NFF election scheduled for September 30 in Edo.

Ibrahim Gusau emerged as the new president of the NFF following the election on September 30 in Benin City, Edo.

Gusau, a member of the CAF organising committee and chairman, Football Associations chairmen, was said to have garnered 39 votes to succeed Pinnick.

(NAN)

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