The latest FIFA ban twist in the legal battle between the two gladiators in the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF leadership tussle Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa may not douse the prevalent tension as the Giwa group has vowed that only the Supreme Court of Nigeria can put an end to the tussle.
FIFA had on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 approved the five year ban imposed by the Amaju-led Board on Giwa, Muazu Suleyman, Yahaya Adama, Sani Fema and Effiong Johnson from participating in any football matters.
The ban on the Giwa group was announced on May 12, 2016 as a result of a legal action instituted by the Giwa group against the Amaju group to reclaim the mandate they claim was given to them by the NFF Congress at the Chida Hotel, Abuja on August 26, 2014.
Pinnick and Giwa
Reacting to the FIFA approval of their ban, Giwa said: “The FIFA approval is laughable. We have so much respect for FIFA but this is a legal matter that has gone to as far as the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The Amaju group are just running away from their shadows. Only the Supreme Court can resolve the issues at stake.”
According to Giwa, the issue of supremacy of Nigeria’s laws over FIFA laws has been laid to rest long time ago by Justice Okorowo in the matter between Dr Sam Sam Jaja and Nigeria Football League Ltd, NFF and three others.
“Even Article1 of the NFF Statute is germane here,” Giwa said, adding, “It simply states that the NFA is set up under Nigeria’s law and is bond by same. Justice Okorowo succinctly captured this when he ruled that FIFA is an Association registered in the commercial register in accordance with Article 60FF of Swiss Civil Code.”
Continuing, Giwa quoted Justice Okorowo to have added that: “Although it may be recognised as a law governing football all over the world and Nigeria as a member ought to be bond by it, there is no indication that it has been domesticated in Nigeria.
For it to have force of law in Nigeria or compared with Nigeria laws to limited rights or obligations guaranteed under the Nigerian Statutes and indeed the Constitution, it has to be domesticated.
Therefore both NFF and FIFA Statutes with their respective provisions on arbitration have no force of law in Nigeria and cannot operate to bar plaintiff’s right of access to court.”
It could be recalled that the Supreme Court has adjourned the case twice on the grounds that Amaju’s counsels failed to make their submission to the court. However, feelers from the apex court reveal that both parties have complied and a final ruling is being expected soon.