Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo has faulted Monday’s directive by minister of sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, which sacked Amaju Pinnick as president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as he insists that it does not fall in line with regulations of world soccer governing body, FIFA.
Keyamo, who is Pinnick’s legal representative, warned that Nigeria faces a possible ban by FIFA, even as he also declared as null and void the order to vacate office issued to his client by Dalung.
Keyamo, who is also the spokesperson of Buhari Campaign Organisation, made his points in a press statement few hours after the minister directed Pinnick and his board to make way for Ambassador Chris Giwa to take over the NFF, but the fiery lawyer insists Dalung’s order is of no effect.
The renowned lawyer went on to cite four grounds to justify Pinnick’s position that the minister’s order is not binding on Pinnick, because it goes against regulations of Federation of International Football (FIFA), of which the NFF is its affiliate in Africa.
Keyamo also stressed that the directive for Giwa and his board members to take over the running of Nigerian football by stepping into office at the NFF does not have any locus standi.
He stated in part: “We are solicitors to Mr. Amaju Pinnick and the present Board of the NFF which he heads. We issue this statement on the instruction and directive of our clients which reflect their official position on the matter.
“The attention of our clients has been drawn to a statement purportedly issued at the behest of the Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung directing the NFF to comply with certain court orders effecting a change of leadership in the NFF.
“Our clients wish to alert the general public and the authorities in Nigeria that the so-called directive by the Minister of Sports is null, void and of no effect for the following reasons.
“It should be noted that FIFA has consistently maintained that this same matter has been taken to the highest Court of Sports Arbitration in Switzerland by these same individuals and they have lost.
“FIFA is only bound by the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sports and does not entertain or tolerate decisions by local courts in footballing nations worldwide.
“Hence, FIFA has since upheld the decision of the Court of Arbitration on this matter and recognized the NFF Board led by Amaju Pinnick.
“Nigeria has a duty to comply with that decision. In addition, for the indiscretion of those individuals like Chris Giwa to approach the local courts, FIFA has since imposed a worldwide ban on them from all footballing activities.”