EFCC raids NFF office
Investigation into allegations of fraud running into billions of naira in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) took a different turn Monday as operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided the Glass House in Abuja. Daily Sunsports gathered reliably that the raid which lasted for more than four hours saw the operatives carting away several files that would aid their investigation in the alleged fraud of about N1.3b levelled against top officials of the NFF, following the dismal performance of the Super Eagles at the FIFA 2010 World Cup which ended on Sunday, July 11.
Spokesman of the EFCC, Femi Babafemi, who spoke with Daily Sunsports on the level of investigation so far, confirmed the raid and said the men of the EFCC gathered documents that would assist in the on-going investigation.
“Our operatives were at the NFF Glass House and spent over four hours going through documents that would be essential to their investigation. The operatives gathered some documents that will assist us in our job. The EFCC is not rushing through the allegations raised but would do its best to have a meticulous job done at the end of the day.”
Asked to react to claims by the impeached leadership of the NFF which include Sani Abdullahi (president), Amanze Ucheagbulam and Taiwo Ogunjobi; first vice president and technical committee president respectively; Babafemi said that operatives of the EFCC did not need to publicise what they were doing at the moment.
“Those thinking that we’re slow should tarry awhile as a thorough job needs to be done,” he said.
However, one of the impeached henchmen of the NFF, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, has said that he should not be painted in bad light before Nigerians, as he has no direct dealing with financial matters.
“I must say it’s unfortunate that many are of the belief that we’re already guilty and in EFCC net. I particularly have nothing to do with the day-to-day running of the NFF and had no access to finance. When I learnt of the EFCC’s summon on the pages of newspapers, I visited their office to make myself available for investigation only to be told that I have not been invited.”
Continuing, the former technical committee chairman of the NFF said that no letter has been sent to him by the EFCC. “As I speak with you, no letter has been written to me. I’m not afraid of probe. My job is technical and that has to do with players and coaches not financial. At the moment, I’ve gone back to my business and will be ready anytime I’m called upon,” he stated categorically.
Speaking on his impeachment, Chief Ogunjobi noted that he is shocked that members of the NFF could go as far as impeaching them when he and the others were not summoned before their action.
“Nobody summoned us before the house. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not guilty because the other board members took action without consulting us. Nobody has said money was mismanaged but that it was a case of insubordination and I don’t see how that concerns me.
Some of the allegations before the trio are that of the 32 teams that took part in the World Cup, the Super eagles were taken to one of the cheapest hotels called the Hampshire; a situation which cost Nigeria $125, 000 fine. Aside this the NFF cost Nigeria to loose the sum of $250, 000 in a deal meant to fly the Super Eagles from London on a charter flight to South Africa.
In an effort to ensure that the leadership of the NFF led by Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi made a successful return to office, it was alleged that he appointed his personal lawyer as chairman of the electoral body that would conduct the forthcoming elections to be attended by only 44 delegates.
Answers are to be sort also for the unbudgeted $400, 000 which was used to prosecute the international friendly match against Colombia in London. Aside this, the leadership that also includes Amanze Ucheaegulam, Taiwo Ogunjobi and Bolaji Ojo-Oba are to explain why there were over 300 people taken on a jamboree to South Africa for the FIFA 2010 World Cup in which Nigeria had just 23 players in her team. Incidentally, the football ruling body only defrays the cost of all travelling team to the World Cup not exceeding 50 while not forgetting the missing $236, 000.
There is also the investigation of the $1million grant to Nigeria participating at the World Cup and also the dismissal of Taiwo Ogunjobi by the former Military administrator of Oyo State, Col. Usman.