NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick and his second vice president Shehu Dikko have had their homes sealed off by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) who are investigation graft allegations against them.
In April this year, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the immediate prosecution of the Mr Pinnick over allegations that he was involved in a multi-billion scam. 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 the 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 between January 2014 and June 2016. In a six-page report, 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 the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to the NFF between 2014 and 2016.
Yesterday, the ICPC acted on the report, sealing the Lagos home of Mr Pinnick and the Abuja house of Mr Dikko. Mr Pinnick’s Lagos home is on the upmarket Park View Estate, while Mr Dikko’s mansion is in Abuja’s posh Maitama district.
This latest investigation is looking into fraud allegations over how sponsorship money meant for the development of football in the country has been stolen. Allegations against the NFF officials include mismanaging funds secured from official sponsors, domestic league television sponsorship and payments from a former kit supplier for all the national teams.
It also focuses on funds provided by federal and state governments for friendly matches involving the Super Eagles and the misappropriation of about $2.7m from the Financial Assistance Programme of football’s world governing body, Fifa. Messrs Pinnick and Dikko have always denied any wrongdoing but they are said to be hiding behind a Fifa regulation that prohibits government interference in football matters.
EFCC spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren, said: “What I can confirm is that officials of the Nigeria Football Federation are being investigated by the agency.”
Last month, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the arrest of Mr Pinnick and four others over the alleged fraud. After hearing the case against them, Justice Ojukwu issued a bench warrant for the arrest as none of the accused were in court.
Those who were to be arrested include the NFF secretary Sanusi Mohammed, first vice president Seyi Akinwumi, second vice president Shehu Dikko and executive committee member Yusuf Fresh. In May, Mr Pinnick and four other NFF officials were charged with the misappropriation of $8,400 paid as a subvention by Fifa.