November 6 – An official anti-corruption government investigation into Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick – once the second most powerful figure in African football – and four other officials has been dropped in a hugely embarrassing climb-down by the authorities.
The case brought by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) focussed on Pinnick, NFF vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko as well as general secretary Mohammed Sanusi and executive committee member Ahmed Yusuf.
It was made up of 16 charges ranging from failure to declare assets to the alleged disappearance of $8.4 million paid by FIFA to Nigeria for participation in the 2014 World Cup but was dismissed at the High Court on Tuesday following the dissolution of the SPIP itself in September.
The case was doomed to collapse once Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the end of the SPIP following allegations of corruption against its own chairman Okoi Obono-Obla.
All five officials always denied any wrongdoing and back in June Pinnick blasted Nigerian authorities for attempting to push him out of office, insisting he would stand his ground and not give in to “sociopaths”.
“The clean bill is a confirmation of the position of the NFF on all swirling allegations of corruption against its officials,” said the NFF, embroiled for months in a bitter power struggle.
“Nigeria’s supreme football-governing body has always insisted that its leaders were being victimised by persons who lost elections through the ballot and were seeking other means to upturn things at Glass House (NFF headquarters), or disgruntled individuals simply on a mission of vendetta.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org