The leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has denied allegations of misappropriating $8.4 million.
The money was said to have been paid by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to the NFF as appearance fees for the 2014 World Cup that held in Brazil.
Amaju Pinnick, NFF president, and four other executive members of the federation have been accused of moving the cash without the consent of the federation.
NFF, in a statement on Wednesday, described the allegations leveled by the Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) as cheap blackmail in the fight for the political leadership of the federation.
“We wish to state categorically that the charges filed by SPIP are frivolous and totally baseless,” the statement read.
“They are aimed only at scandalising the NFF and its leadership and nothing more, in order to mislead the unwary and uninformed.
“This is evident from the great facility with which the news of the charges which were registered at the court’s registry today, May 7, 2019, has been widely disseminated by SPIP and its collaborators.”
The NFF said it has filed a suit before the federal high court in Abuja to challenge the panel’s investigative powers.
“Currently pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja is Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 filed by NFF against SPIP and 3 others, including Obono-Obla himself,” it said.
“NFF in the suit is challenging the competence of SPIP under the law to purport to investigate or prosecute the federation or its leadership.
“When the matter came up for hearing on April 20, 2019, Celsus Ukpong, the lawyer representing SPIP wrote a letter applying for an adjournment of the matter, as he could not appear in court for official reasons.
“The suit was accordingly adjourned to May 13, 2019, for definite hearing.
“It should now be clear to all that the SPIP under Chief Obono-Obla is acting in contempt of the laws and Courts of Nigeria.
“The determination of SPIP and Okono-Obla to act unlawfully and in undisguised bias against NFF and its leadership is well documented and forms the basis of NFF’s petition to the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice since January 2019, as well as joining the office of the AGF in all the suits we have filed against SPIP.
“We are confident that this regrettable matter will be appropriately dealt with in the due course.”