Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has set aside the no-case-submission filed by former President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF Sani Lulu Abdullahi and three members of his executive board, Taiwo Ogunjobi, Amanze Uchegbulam and Bolaji Ojo- Oba in the alleged corruption case brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.
The former NFF henchmen were arraigned by the Federal High Court in 2010 for alleged misappropriation of funds and not following due process in the purchase of two Marcopolo buses for the national teams
Counsels to the defendants and the EFCC had in November 15, 2015 filed a written address of no case submission which was adopted and Justice Chukwu had to postpone ruling on the no case submission three times.
When the case came up yesterday for ruling, Justice Chukwu dismissed the applications of the defendants, noting that they were bound by the Public Procurement Act, PPA and as such should defend themselves in the charge leveled against them by the EFCC.
“Let me on equivocal term say that NFA or NFF which manages football in Nigeria enjoys the patronage of the Federal Government of Nigeria either collective or through the National Sports Commission. The NFF status is not an act of the National Assembly but it must be subject to the laws of Nigeria. You have case to answer. This is particularly in a case where the money being expended is tax payers’ money and not one of a limited liability company.
The provision of section 60 of the Public Procurement Act, PPA covers NFF and having said that, it followed that all the defendants are bound by the provision of the PPA.’’
On the argument that the third accused person, Bolaji Ojo-Oba had no case to answer as he was not a board member of the NFF, the Judge said the NFF General Secretary had much to answer.
Justice Evoh said this was evident where the NFF statuses bestowed on the General Secretary all the administrative work of the NFF Secretariat.
“By the provision of the law, the third defendant might be privy to the dealings of the NFF in normal situation.
“This is equally brought by the provisions of article 42, 61, 65 and 66 respectively; what is more is that article 62 of the status defined the role of the third accused.
“It is obvious that the third accused is an active member of the NFF and does not need to be a board member to have been charged with other accused persons.’’
The Judge however, said that he can be able to determine the true position of the matter only when the accused persons enter for their defense.
He subsequently dismissed the no case submission application and picked March 9, 2016 as date for the four accused persons to open their defense.
Counsel to Sani Lulu and three others, Patrick Okolo, SAN said the decision of the court to overrule them was a natural course of justice.
According to him, “We made a case that the accused persons have no case to answer but the Judge has overruled us and what he is saying is that they need to react to evidence given by the prosecution.
“It is a natural course in the legal profession that if you are accused and if there is any element of information you dish out that require explanation, the accused can be called upon to explain and that is what the court has said.
The next step is for us to call our witnesses to give evidence or to react to the evidence given by the prosecution.
This will give us opportunity to state our own side of the story and we already have our four witnesses ready.’’


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