The trending story that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the arrest and prosecution of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Chairman, Amaju Pinnick is false, the presidency has stated.
In a statement, presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the press release in circulation in the last 24 hours regarding Pinnick is fake news.
According to Shehu anyone familiar with the “President’s unmitigated and unshakable commitment to the due processes of the law will not make such assumptions of the President.”
He added: “The position of the President that allegations of criminal nature should be addressed only by investigation and law enforcement agencies, within the framework of the law has not changed.
“It is not in the nature of President Buhari to say go and arrest that man or woman as formed the practice in the past.
“Rather, he allows all allegations of this nature to be addressed using the mechanism of the rule of law even as law enforcement and investigation agencies should not in any way be hampered in performing their duties.
“At the same time, nobody should drop names to seek to influence the course of those investigations.”
After the Pinnick story was published on online platforms and regular newspapers, the NFF issued a statement debunking it.
It said : “The attention of the Nigeria Football Federation has been drawn to a news item circulating in a section of the media saying a directive has been issued by President Muhammadu Buhari that the President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick be prosecuted and that Pinnick has also been issued with a travel ban.
“The report is completely unfounded and is only a product of the writer’s imagination. The NFF President, who is also the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, has not received any such message from any of the agencies mentioned by the writer and has also never been placed on travel ban.
“Mr. Pinnick was in Accra, Ghana on Friday, 4th January 2019 for a meeting with NFF and CAF partners AITEO and returned to Nigeria the same day. He has been going about his lawful official and private activities unhindered. The NFF published its audited account in two (2) major national newspapers (ThisDay and Daily Trust) on Thursday, 20th December 2018 and in another major newspaper (Vanguard) on Tuesday, 25th December 2018. Anyone interested in the Federation’s financial transactions can refer to those pages.
“All incomes into the NFF from the Federal Government, FIFA and CAF from 2014 till now have been correctly recorded and reflected in our accounts. The NFF received nothing like the N59 Billion that the fake news reporters have been hawking. It is laughable.
“Our lawyers will take up the matter of the fake news item with the newspaper company that first published it in its online edition. But we urge other media companies and outlets to be painstaking in verification of their news items.
“We also urge our sponsors and partners, football stakeholders in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large, and other media institutions to disregard the said news report as its another attempt by the mob against the NFF to tarnish the image of the Federation and its leadership for whatever gains.”