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28 Apr 2018

Supreme court ruling on NFF election sparks controversy

An order by the Supreme Court yesterday to the warring factions of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), to return to the Federal High Court in Jos for the expeditious hearing of their matter sparked a hot debate by lawyers to both parties. A five-man panel of the court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, unanimously set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Jos.
The Jos Appeal Court had held that the case could no longer be relisted before the Federal High Court having been earlier withdrawn by the appellants. But the Supreme Court upheld the appellants, Chris Giwa’s contention that they could have the case re-listed before the trial court after their settlement talks broke down.

 While some Nigerians were still in the dark regarding clear interpretation of the Supreme Court order yesterday, a statement from Festus Keyamo’s Chambers, made available to The Guardian said: “The summary of the Supreme Court Judgment in plain language is that the complaint of Giwa and his supporters should be taken back to the Federal High Court so that they can be properly heard and the case determined one way or the other.

So, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal, which struck out the case of Giwa and his supporters that they should not be heard at all.

 “The Supreme Court did not remove Amaju Pinnick from office. The Supreme Court did not also sack the NFF Board from office. The public should be properly guided please.”

 However, the lawyer to Chris Giwa, Chinedu Eze, countered Keyamo’s statement saying: “Clearly, what happened today, (yesterday), is that the Supreme Court set aside the Judgment of the Court of Appeal and confirmed the decision of the Federal High Court relisting the case and restoring all its previous orders.

 “That is to say, the decision of the Federal High Court relisting the Suit and restoring all its Orders, including the order recognising the Chris Giwa Committee and the order as setting aside the election of Amaju-Pinnick, still subsists. Let no one be deceived.”

 The Guardian recalls that the Jos High Court Order on September 19, 2014 stated: “That an Order of Mandatory injunction in the interim is granted compelling the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants jointly and severally to give recognition to the general assembly meeting of the NFF held 26th August, 2014 and the election into the executive committee of the NFF conducted at that meeting pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this case.

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