Human rights lawyer Festus Keyamo (SAN) has said there is no Supreme Court order stopping Amaju Pinnick from acting as President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
According to Keyamo, the Supreme Court also never installed Chris Giwa as NFF President, neither were both men parties to any suit where such orders were made.
Keyamo, Pinnick’s lawyer, stated this yesterday in a statement made available to newsmen
The Director, Strategic Communications for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 presidential campaign, described people making such claims, as “uninformed and/or deliberately mischievous.”
He traced the source of the rumour to two press releases issued by the office of the Minister for Sports, Solomon Dalung, on July 2 and August 21.
He advised “football lovers, stakeholders and the general public” to ignore the reports.
The lawyer further explained that Giwa’s fight to become the NFF President had become academic because Pinnick’s tenure expired last night.
According to him, “the tenure of office which is the subject of dispute of the case filed by Giwa’s group since 2014, lapsed on the 26th of August.”
Keyamo said: “We hereby challenge anybody who disputes this to publish the Supreme Court Judgment or Order where the names of Amaju Pinnick or Chris Giwa were ever mentioned in any portion of the judgment or as even parties to the case. The fact is that the court processes filed in the Supreme Court matter do not bear their names as parties to the suit whatsoever.”
Giwa and Pinnick have been involved in a recurring leadership tussle since 2014 culminating in an appeal reaching the Supreme Court.
“What the Supreme Court did was to relist the case and remit it back to the Federal High Court for expeditious determination on its merits, while firmly declining the Motion brought by the plaintiffs (Giwa) in the matter to invoke its general powers under Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to deal with the substantive suit,” he added.
Keyamo explained that although the Supreme Court restored all previous orders made in the proceedings in the suit, it did not matter.
He said: “In any event, and much more fundamentally, neither Amaju Pinnick nor Chris Giwa is even mentioned in the said ‘previous’ orders, nor were either of them made parties to the suit and, therefore, would not ordinarily be bound by Orders given in that suit “Another question to be asked is that if Giwa and his team had a Supreme Court Order granting him the right to the NFF Presidency, why would they have to go back to the Federal High Court to surreptitiously procure a fresh ex parte order dated June 5, 2018 for the same purpose and containing reliefs totally different from the “previous” orders of 19th day of September 2014?”
The lawyer stated that an ex parte order obtained by Giwa on July 2, expired after 14 days.
“The implication of the foregoing is that the Interim Order which Chris Giwa and his team are parading as entitling them to the leadership of the NFF automatically lapsed on the 16th of July, 2018,” Keyamo said.
The lawyer accused Giwa’s team of delaying the court case.
He said: “Since the 2nd of July, 2018, the court has sat four times (July 4th 2018; July 10th, 2018; July 31st 2018 and; August 17th 2018). However, neither the matter nor motions have been heard, with the case always adjourned.
“These adjournments happened at the behest of Giwa’s lawyers, who obviously are not interested in hearing the matter, thus always raising one technical issue or the other to ensure adjournment of the matter (which they always celebrated as if the case had been decided).
“Meanwhile, all this while, they were busy in Abuja parading themselves as court-recognised NFF based on an expired ex-parte order while they refused to allow the court to go into the substantive matter to determine it on its merit.”
He said by adjourning the case indefinitely allegedly at Giwa’s behest, the Federal High Court had not complied with the order of the Supreme Court to hear the matter on time.
“In summary, it should, therefore, be noted that the court gave an ex-parte interim order removing someone who is not party to a suit from office, installing another who is not party to the suit, declined to take the motion challenging that interim order and then adjourned the matter sine die (indefinitely).”
He debunked a claim by Dalung that both parties (Giwa and Amaju) went to the court and have benefited at one point or the other in this regard.
He said: “This is definitely a non-factual statement as Amaju Pinnick and his Board have never ever taken football matters to court or sued any person in an ordinary court of law over football matters.
“Amaju Pinnick and his Board are, however, duty bound to respond to any court Summons and appear before the court to explain to the court that the matter, such as this, is a football matter not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.
“This was what was done since 2014 when Giwa’s group sued the NFF. Unfortunately, this motion is still pending before the court in the lamentable circumstances recounted here previously.”
Keyamo stated that his client was not bothered by the threat of contempt proceedings by Chris Giwa and his team, describing it as ’empty’.