Presidency denies report saying Buhari ordered EFCC to prosecute NFF boss Pinnick

PRESIDENCY officials have dismissed media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the arrest and prosecution of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) chairman Amaju Pinnick as fake saying no press release to that effect was issued by Aso Rock.


Over the weekend, it was reported that President Buhari ordered the immediate prosecution of Mr Pinnick over allegations that he was involved in a multi-billion scam. According to reports, President Buhari asked the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) headed by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla to step in and prosecute the NFF boss and also place a travel ban on Mr Pinnick.


Apparently, Mr Pinnick, who was recently elected for a second term as NFF president, has been under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) concerning how the federation's funds are spent. According to an EFCC preliminary report, the domiciliary accounts of the NFF domiciled with Zenith Bank and UBA had received total inflow of $16.41m from Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) between January 2014 and June 2016.


Since the news went public, Mr Pinnick has denied the story, saying that there is no truth to it, pointing out that he is currently in Senegal for a Caf summit, so could not have been subject to a travel ban. Presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu has confirmed this, saying that the report is untrue and false.


Mallam Shehu said: “ This 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."


He warned that nobody should drop names to seek to influence the course of those investigations. According to the original report, in a six-page document, EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu had informed President Buhari that the anti-graft agency had investigated and prosecuted the NFF director of finance Christopher Andekin, its head of administration Jafaru Mamzah and a cashier Rajan Zaka, over an alleged financial scam connected to payments from  Fifa and Caf to the NFF between 2014 and 2016.