On May 30, a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigeria Football Association Act and enact the Nigeria Football Federation was passed by the Senate. Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Clerk of the Senate signed the Senate version of the Bill.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker, House of Representatives, dated October 31, 2017, and made available to The PUNCH, Alli, who has handled several football matters in various courts of law, said Parliamentary Act could not operate retroactively or retrospectively, and urged Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to halt the process.
He stated that the move by the House of Reps to pass the NFF Act into law was also an attempt to overrule a previous court ruling that had declared the football body unknown to Nigerian Law.
“The proposed NFF Act seeks to legalise the numerous previous illegalities and override the judgments of the courts of the land such as the un-appealed Justice Okorowo’s judgment in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2010, which clearly declared the NFF as unknown to Nigerian Law and has been un-appealed till date,” Alli stated in the letter to the Speaker.
“The very clandestine intention of this whole proposed NFF Act is to clearly and completely disregard such judgments, which you (Speaker) are sworn to respect. Unless this attempt by your (House) Committee on Sports is stopped by you (Speaker) sir, it will override the efficacy of court judgments as guaranteed in our Constitution.”
The lawyer added that due process was not followed as in the Procurement Act, which stipulates that processes like public adverts inviting the public, both corporate and private individuals, to bid and go through tender, for every intended public award, in the case of the League Management Company.
“The very inclusion therefore of LMC Limited, a private company, in Parliamentary Act to take over the running of the Premier League is not in line with the intent and provision of the Procurement Act amongst others.
Last month, the National Association of Nigerian Footballers also kicked against the controversial Bill and called on the Federal House of Representatives to step down the move. The players union called on Dogara and other members of the House to carry out a proper investigation on issues surrounding the contentious Bill.
On Tuesday, the Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club questioned the NFF’s decision to regulate its activities via the NFF Act before the National Assembly.
The President-General of the NFSC, Rafiu Ladipo, who described the move as “a fraud”, objected to the section of the Act seeking to bring the supporters’ club under the control of the NFF.
Also, a football administrator, Tilewa Adebajo, speaking on the position of the indigenous private clubs owners, said, “Our position is that there is urgent need to repeal the NFA Act, but no further need to legislate football. If you do, we will have to go back to the National Assembly to make the most basic amendment. For instance, LMC is a limited liability company already and can’t be legislated.”