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NFF warns against ‘fake news,’ threatens to sue former board member

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Amaju Pinnick. PHOTO: BBC

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday advised Nigerians to disregard what it described as ‘fake news being peddled by those who lost out in the recent elections,’ just as it threatened to seek redress through the football processes.

Reacting to allegations of graft levelled against its officials by a former member of its executive committee, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi and published by an online medium on Thursday, the NFF described the claims as ‘unguarded, misleading and deliberate falsehood, and outrightly libellous statements.’

It said in a statement, “The attention of the NFF has been drawn to some statements made by Otunba Dele-Ajayi, a former member of the NFF executive committee and Chairman of the Ondo State FA, in an interview originally granted a radio station in Ondo State but published by a website on Thursday, January 24, 2019.

“He grandly claimed there was mismanagement at the NFF without being able to substantiate any with documents. This is the same pattern that we have seen over the months with the mob action and media trial all over the place, especially from persons and groups who lost out in the NFF elections. We insist there is no mismanagement under the administration of Amaju Pinnick but absolute transparency in the way and manner it puts out all its activities in the open for the good of the game.

“We take very strong exceptions to the puerile allegation that one of the most reputable auditing firms in the world, PwC ‘cook books’ for the NFF. This issue would however, be properly addressed from other quarters, including but not limited to legal angles.

“With regards to money released to the NFF (not the person of Amaju Pinnick) by the Ministry of Youth and Sports from the funds approved and released by the Federal Government for the FIFA World Cup, we have done our retirement as required and these funds will be duly audited and reported in the NFF 2018 Accounts to be published soon. Perhaps, Otunba Dele-Ajayi expects the NFF to make the retirement of the funds to him?”

The NFF said it was on record that all funds received from CAF and FIFA went straight to its accounts at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding, “neither Mr. Pinnick nor any member of the executive committee for that matter is a signatory to those accounts (or any NFF accounts for that matter), but the NFF Finance Directorate headed by the NFF Finance Director, who is an appointee of the FGN from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.”

The federation listed all the monies it received from some states, including Rivers and Abia, as well as individuals and other organisations before and after the World Cup, adding that it received the funds either through its funds manager or through its CBN Account. It added that it submitted a detailed document to the Minister of Sports on all donations it received and the accounts through which they were received, accusing Otunba Dele-Ajayi of joining in the war against the federation because he lost out of the power play in the board.

It added: “Certainly, we will take this issue beyond merely responding to his statements.

We have had enough of libellous and senseless comments and allegations by persons who are supposed to be stakeholders and elders but are rather consumed by envy, bitterness and animosity. We have briefed our lawyers and we will also use football processes to seek redress.”


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