The Presidency reacted to report in some parts of media that the President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the investigation and prosecution of the President of Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick.
The Presidency in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, described the circulated publication as “fake news”
Adesina stressed that criminal investigations are handled by the relevant authorities, adding that the President does not interfere.
“A press release in circulation in the last 24 hours, to the effect that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the arrest and prosecution of Amaju Pinnick, the NFF Chairman, is fake news because anyone familiar with the President’s unmitigated and unshakable commitment to the due processes of the law will not make such assumptions of the President.
“The position of the President that allegations of criminal nature should be addressed only by investigation and law enforcement agencies, within the framework of the law has not changed.
“It is not in the nature of President Buhari to say go and arrest that man or woman as formed the practice in the past.
“Rather, he allows all allegations of this nature to be addressed using the mechanism of the rule of law even as law enforcement and investigation agencies should not in any way be hampered in performing their duties.
“At the same time, nobody should drop names to seek to influence the course of those investigations.”
On Saturday, the NFF had reacted and denied the report too, describing the report as a blatant falsehood meant to throw the country’s football into fresh round of crisis.
Various on-line and regular media have reported detailed accounts of financial misconduct following the release of the NFF financial reports for the year 2018.
“The attention of the Nigeria Football Federation has been drawn to a news item circulating in a section of the media saying a directive has been issued by President Muhammadu Buhari that the President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick be prosecuted and that Pinnick has also been issued with a travel ban.
“The report is completely unfounded and is only a product of the writer’s imagination. The NFF President, who is also the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, has not received any such message from any of the agencies mentioned by the writer and has also never been placed on travel ban.
“Mr. Pinnick was in Accra, Ghana on Friday, 4th January 2019 for a meeting with NFF and CAF partners AITEO and returned to Nigeria the same day. He has been going about his lawful official and private activities unhindered. The NFF published its audited account in two (2) major national newspapers (ThisDay and Daily Trust) on Thursday, 20th December 2018 and in another major newspaper (Vanguard) on Tuesday, 25th December 2018. Anyone interested in the Federation’s financial transactions can refer to those pages.
“All incomes into the NFF from the Federal Government, FIFA and CAF from 2014 till now have been correctly recorded and reflected in our accounts. The NFF received nothing like the N59 Billion that the fake news reporters have been hawking. It is laughable.
“Our lawyers will take up the matter of the fake news item with the newspaper company that first published it in its online edition. But we urge other media companies and outlets to be painstaking in verification of their news items.
“We also urge our sponsors and partners, football stakeholders in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large, and other media institutions to disregard the said news report as its another attempt by the mob against the NFF to tarnish the image of the Federation and its leadership for whatever gains.”
Other network (NAIJA CENTER NEWS excluded) had reported that Buhari gave the order to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday.
The report disclosed the EFCC preliminary report, disclosing that it had commenced full investigation into the finances of the NFF where it discovered that the domiciliary accounts of the NFF domiciled with Zenith Bank and UBA had received total inflow of $16,417,761 from FIFA and CAF between January, 2014 and June, 2016 as follows: 18/12/2014 Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456, $8,400,000 (FIFA); 23/01/2015, Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456, $450,000 (FIFA); 25/03/2015, Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456, $1,081,000 (CAF); 13/10/2015 Zenith Bank, Ac No: 5070407456, $3000 (CAF); 12/01/2014, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $1,500,000 (FIFA); 15/01/2014 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $1,746,745 (CAF); 19/03/2014 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $249,950 (CAF); 12/12/2014 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $301,467 (FIFA);14/05/2015 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $30,000 (FIFA); 31/07/2015 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $315,149 (FIFA); 14/08/2015, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $399,000 (FIFA); 11/09/2015 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $300,000 (FIFA); 16/10/2015, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $850,149 (FIFA); 18/11/2015, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $2,990 (CAF); 12/02/2016, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $79,540 (FIFA); 15/03/2016, UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $299,000, (CAF); 22/06/2016 UBA, Ac No: 3000004944, $9,930 (CAF).