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Alleged corruption: Pinnick drags Obono-Obla, SPIP to court

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The last might not have been heard of the alleged corruption against Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as the CAF vice president, through the NFF lawyer, Mamman Nasir, has dragged Okoi Obono-Obla, the head of Special Presidential Investigatory Panel (SPIP) on the recovery of public property, and the entire panel, to court.

This is according to a letter from Nasir obtained by Breaking Times. The football house, through its lawyer, lamented what it called the orchestrated media campaign against NFF officials.

Consequently, the NFF, through the lawyer, warned against persecution and public show trial of its officials by SPIP.

“It must be pointed out that while these publications of the news of the warrant of arrest started on Wednesday, January 9, the date on the face of the eventual published warrant unlawfully obtained from a magistrate’s court in Abuja was Thursday, January 10”, the statement stated.

The counsel to the NFF questioned why a warrant of arrest will be obtained from a Magistrate Court instead of a High Court as prescribed by the law setting up the SPIP.

“More grievous to the rights of our client and its officials is the fact that Chief Obono-Obla and SPIP went to secure a warrant of arrest from a Magistrate Court contrary to the clear provisions of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, the law setting up the SPIP, that ONLY the Federal High Court is vested with the jurisdiction to issue warrants for the SPIP.

He, however, stated that he has filed a suit against the SPIP in the FCT High Court, Abuja. ”Our client and the affected NFF officials have also taken the additional step to file a suit, FC/ABJ/ CS/17/2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division.

“The suit is to allow this whole sordid matter to be ventilated in the court of the land and to check the oppression of our client and its officials

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SPORTS

AFCON: Buhari hails Super Eagles, says ‘Two more victories and we’re there’

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Eagles for another spectacular outing that has confirmed Nigeria’s progress to the Next Level in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Egypt 2019.

With a well-deserved victory over the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, President Buhari believes, like millions of other sports-loving Nigerians, that the mission of having the trophy in our hands for the fourth time is almost accomplished for the high flying Eagles.

The President urges the team and their handlers to remain focused, disciplined and scale the remaining two hurdles to glory.

He affirms that the crop of players in the national football team represent the resilient and indomitable Nigerian spirit, which must be reflected in all other areas of national life.

President Buhari assures the players that Nigerians are praying for them to fly higher and get to the peak of the tournament, knowing that the taste of victory is sweet and what they have achieved so far is pleasing to Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, religious or political inclination.

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Chelsea FC appoints former midfielder, Frank Lampard as manager

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Chelsea have appointed former midfielder Frank Lampard as their manager on a three-year deal.

Lampard, 41, has left Championship side Derby County to take over at a club where he spent 13 years as a player.

He succeeds Maurizio Sarri, who left Stamford Bridge in June to take charge of Italian champions Juventus.

Lampard led Derby to the Championship play-off final, where they lost to Aston Villa, in his first season as a manager.

The former England international made 648 Chelsea appearances, winning 11 major trophies with them.

He takes over with Chelsea under a transfer embargo after the club were given a two-window transfer ban by world governing body Fifa – a decision they are appealing against at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach,” said Lampard.

“Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared. However, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead.

“I am here to work hard, bring further success to the club and I cannot wait to get started.”

The appointment comes nine days after Derby gave Lampard permission to talk to Chelsea and 18 days after Sarri left Stamford Bridge.

Lampard is the 10th full-time manager appointed by Roman Abramovich since he bought the club in 2003.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said Lampard’s Championship play-off final appearance with Derby demonstrated that he is “one of the most talented young coaches in the game”.

“It gives us great pleasure to welcome Frank back to Chelsea as head coach,” she said. “Frank possesses fantastic knowledge and understanding of the club.”

Derby assistant manager Jody Morris and first-team coach Chris Jones have also joined Lampard at Stamford Bridge, while former team-mate Petr Cech was appointed as technical advisor last month.

Lampard joined Chelsea from boyhood club West Ham for a fee of £11m in 2001.

He won a Champions League and a Europa League at the club, while also helping them to win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups.

Chelsea’s title win in 2004-05 was their first in half a century and Lampard scored 13 league goals that season, including both in a 2-0 victory at Bolton that sealed the top-flight crown.

He scored 10 or more Premier League goals in 10 successive seasons for Chelsea and is the club’s all-time record goalscorer with 211.

Lampard left Stamford Bridge in June 2014 and had a stint at Manchester City, where he scored six goals in 32 appearances.

He then joined New York City in Major League Soccer in the US, making his debut in August 2015, before ending his 21-year professional playing career in 2017.

Lampard won 106 England caps after making his international debut in 1999 and went on to score 29 goals for the Three Lions.

He appeared in three World Cups and one European Championships.

Source: BBC Sports

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$8.4m fraud: Court orders arrest of NFF President, Pinnick, 4 others

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, President, Amaju Pinnick and four other officials of the football body over alleged $8.4 million fraud.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu issued the order of arrest following the refusal of Pinnick and others to appear in court to answer to the charges of misappropriation of funds belonging to NFF.

Apart from Pinnick, other defendants whose arrests were ordered by the judge include, NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and an Executive member, Yusuff Fresh.

Following the absence of Pinnick and others to appear in court, the prosecuting lawyer, Celcius Ukpong, orally applied for their arrest, a request the judge granted.

The Federal Government had through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, filed 17 counts, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019, before the court, in which it accused the NFF officials of alleged misappropriation of $8,400,000 belonging to the football body.

The money was said to have been paid by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association to the NFF as appearance fees in the group stage of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

The defendants were also accused of moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn belonging to the NFF without the consent of the NFF, Punch reports.

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