Operatives of Department of State Service (DSS) on Monday invaded the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Secretariat in Abuja and prevented men loyal to the Chris Giwa faction from entering the “Glass House”.
The DSS officers, totaling 23, were positioned outside and inside the premises of NFF office barred journallists and non-essential guests from entering the office.
Yesterday’s development was the latest in the unfolding twists in the struggle for the leadership of Nigeria football between the Giwa and Amaju Pinnick factions.
A letter signed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had directed the parties involved to maintain the status quo until the final determination of the suit.
The letter also directed the Sports minister, Solomon Dalung, to abstain from making any public comment on the NFF crisis forthwith.
The letter titled “RE: A plea for caution in implementing one-sided court orders concerning the Nigeria Footbal Federtion (NFF) and the need to respect FIFA’s position on the orders” reads in part:
“I write to convey the directive of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari that the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports should refrain from making any further public statement in relation to this matter and let the legal process take its course.
“The parties are to be advised to await the final determination of the suit without disturbing the status quo ante.”
However, the return of Dr Sanusi Mohammed as NFF Secretary General, gave the strongest hint yet that the embattled Pinnick faction has taken control of affairs of the football house.
After the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung facilitated Giwa’s take over of the NFF two weeks ago, in line with a Jos High Court exparte order issued by Justice Kurya, the factional board sacked Mohammed and replaced him with Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme.
Until the window dressing, Ikpeme the substantive Technical Director at NFF, was stunned when Mohammed arrived in the morning and attended to routine administrative tasks on his desk at the secretary general’s office.
Mohammed was removed while he was on duty in Russia during the FIFA World Cup, after allegations of financial impropriety were heaped against him following a petition written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by former Super Eagles coach and former Technical Director of NFF, James Peter.
The reinstated scribe told reporters last night that he was delighted to return and offered thanks to government for saving Nigeria from an imminent ban by upholding FIFA statutes.
“You can imagine the number of youths that would have been unemployed if FIFA had banned Nigeria. Look at Kano State for example, they have over 1,000 youths playing for club sides in the state, so if FIFA had banned Nigeria such people will become unemployed and also constitute nuisance to the country. That is just Kano alone not to talk of the other states of the country “, Muhammed said.