NFF chiefs graft trial begins March 20
Former NFF boss Lulu
Former NFF president Sani Abdullahi Lulu, Amanze Uchegbulam, Taiwo Ogunjobi and Bolaji Ojo-Oba have been charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for corruption while they were in office.
The presiding judge, Justice Donatus Okorowa, ordered the four accused persons to face the trial of the eight-count charge out of the 10 levelled against them by the EFCC.
Justice Okorowa in his ruling held that the name NFF is the nomenclature of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and as creation of the federal government lack an autonomous independent power to operate without giving account to the government.
“The genesis of NFF started with the NFA’s Act which stipulates the running and management of the game of football in the country. I have gone through the law and I could not find it anywhere where the change of name of NFA to NFF was carried out through a legislative process of the National Assembly.
“The name NFF is the nomenclature of NFA, and its officers can’t claim not to be government officers or parastatal and should not be held accountable to the government. So far they collect funds from the government; they are accountable to it and can be tried for the offence committed under the law. NFF is not an autonomous body,” he stated.
Speaking shortly after the ruling, counsel to first defendant, Sunday Ameh, said he will study the copy of the judgment carefully and advise his client on the next step to follow.
“The case has not started. We will get the copy of ruling and look at it carefully before know what to do next,” he said.
The former NFF officials are under prosecution for booking a substandard hotel during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
They were also accused of wasting a whopping N99m in the procurement of two substandard buses for the Eagles and also sponsored state FA chairmen, friends, associates, political support groups and family members to the World Cup in South Africa.
The officials were arrested on July 7, 2010, by the operatives of the anti-graft agency, charged to court, but they were later granted bail after some days in prison.