LMC, Giwa FC’s legal battle moves to Appeal Court
The legal battle seeking to compel the League Management Company (LMC), to reinstate Giwa FC into the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), has shifted to the Court of Appeal, Jos Division, which has enrolled the suit.
LMC’s appeal is against the interim order granted by Mr. Justice I.I. Kunda of the Plateau State High Court, Bukuru, on August 12, 2016, in a case filed by one Mustapha Abubakar, seeking to reinstate Giwa FC into the NPFL, and also reschedule all the games the club was excluded from playing following its expulsion in May.
Abubakar claims to be the Chairman of Giwa FC Supporters Club, and that his fundamental human rights has been violated.
The LMC, through its lawyer, Olumide Olujinmi, is asking the Court of Appeal to grant a stay of execution of the lower court’s order and an application for departure from the rules of court to allow for the appeal to be heard as a matter of urgency.
In one of its grounds of appeal, the LMC argued that the said Abubakar has not been shown to have any connection or relationship whatsoever with the LMC or the NPFL, and that there was no urgency as required by law for the judge to make the interim order on 12th August, 2016, which is nearly three months after the expulsion of Giwa FC from the NPFL on 22nd May, 2016.
At the resumed hearing last Thursday, Mr. Justice Kunda had sought to know if the LMC had complied with the interim order of August 12, and Olujimi, in response referred to an affidavit of compliance filed by the LMC as proof of compliance. Olujimi also told the court that he has filed for a stay of proceedings at the Appeals Court.
However, the Counsel for Abubakar, Barrister H.S Ardzard, disagreed, claiming that there has not been full compliance since according to him, the LMC was yet to reschedule the matches involving Giwa FC. He then pleaded with the judge to give an order stopping the league until there is full compliance.
However, it is the position of the LMC that there was no basis for stopping the league, which is an industry representing the multifarious interests of 19 other clubs from states all over Nigeria with players on contract as employees, officials and other employees of the clubs, broadcast right holders, corporate sponsors and the public interest and national and international image of Nigeria.
The LMC further argues that rescheduling of matches cannot be done in a whim, or at the wave of a wand, and explained that it involves several considerations and processes that will take some time.
It was also the submission of the LMC that Giwa FC’s interest cannot supersede other interests and urged the plaintiff’s Counsel to seek other judicial remedies to enforce compliance with the court order, if he was sure there has been none.
The LMC contends that the suit before the Plateau State High Court is defective since as a fundamental human right case, Giwa FC or its owner Giwa FC Ltd is a company, which cannot have fundamental human rights.