NFF, NPFL and the lavished N244m league broadcast money in a week
Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung appears to many as a loquacious speaker but he hit the nail on the head last week when he said that football administration in Nigeria needs surgical operation. The minister was reacting to the Super Falcons’ refusal to leave their hotel after winning the African Women Nations Cup in Cameroom for the eighth time.
That national embarrassment is perhaps history but revelation in Abuja last week that a subsidiary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Nigeria Football League Limited squandered two hundred and forty four million naira in one week bares testimony to why the minister should go ahead with his surgical operation immediately in whatever methods he wants.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under the leadership of Amaju Pinnick may want Nigerians to buy its story that paucity of funds is responsible for its inability to meet its financial obligations to the national teams, but this unfolding financial scandal and impunity in one of the leagues operating under its supervision shows how the NFF turned blind eye or pretended not to know how an agency, the Nigerian Football League Limited/Nigeria Premier League under its watch squandered over Two Hundred and Forty Four Million Naira (244,000,000) within one week.
The Pinnick board which claimed to be broke and awaiting government funding allowed a bunch of ex-footballers under the aegis of the Harrison Jalla’s NANF and a bunch of impeached members of the board of directors of Nigeria Football League Ltd, called Nigeria Premier League, to jointly falsely claim it is still in office, three clear years after been impeached, and falsely presented themselves to both EFCC and a new generation bank (name withheld) as still having mandate to wholly in one fall swoop move the entire N244million from the bank to so-called Club Owners bank account and in a flash, within hours, N244million was totally paid out by the Club Owners to all sorts of characters.
For heaven’s sake, a cursory look at the article and memo of Nigeria Football League Ltd shows that Club Owners Association is not mentioned in the article and memo and therefore cannot usurp the functions of the board of Nigeria Football League Ltd as Danladi-led Club Owners did in directly colluding with Pinnick’s NFF to move the N244million to its account without the consent of NFLL /Nigeria Premier League board.
The outrage over this brazen impunity is understandable. Many football buffs have expressed concern as to why Pinnick’s board allowed this suspicious criminal profligacy given the fact that the Football League is known by all that its corporate head office is under bank takeover based on the loan Obaseki board took to purchase the building. Both Pinnick’s board and Danladi’s so-called Club Owners who are fully in the know preferred to pay all and sundry whatever it deemed right without due authority instead of putting the money into the bank to save the NFLL corporate building as common sense will dictate.
Information reaching the football world confirms Harrison Jalla’s NANF allegedly took 20% Commission from the N244million for writing unsolicited petition to EFCC. It will be interesting to know who authorised this 20% payment as NANF petition was not commissioned by NFLL, a company that absolutely has no legal connection whatsoever with NANF.
Further investigation at NFLL revealed that the broadcast owner of the Nigeria Premier League, Total Promotions Limited recently released a draft of N244million to the Nigeria Premier League Limited, the draft was paid into the account of the NFLL. While the board of the NFLL was still considering options on how to put the money to good use, members of the club owners under the leadership of Barrister Danladi Isaac went to the bank with former staff of the NFLL and in spite of the board of the NFLL writing to the bank not to respect any instruction from any signatory until it hears from the company, the bank strangely acted otherwise moving the entire funds to Club Owners account.
According to the acting executive secretary NFLL, Kasali Obanoyen, the Club Owners allegedly acted clearly illegally as he affirmed that “we got the information of transaction in the NFLL account and moves by some individuals who are no longer current staff of NFLL to withdraw the money. I, acting on behalf of NFLL quickly wrote the bank’s branch where the account was domiciled in Wuse Zone 3, Abuja, advising no funds must be moved from NFLL account”.
Kasali said that flowing from NFLL letter, the accounts officer of the bank, Ms Ene Abah visited the NFLL corporate head office at 31 Karaye Street, Gariki 11 Abuja, with some top staff of the branch of Zenith Bank and inquired of the individuals that were posing as staff of the NFLL, the executive secretary told them that they were former staff that left since 2012.
Few days after the visit by the bank’s staff, a former signatory B to the NFLL account, Esther Adesuyi came to the office and asked to be let into the accounts department to take some documents, she was allowed entry under a security watch and she took a letter that mandate her as a signatory B to the account in 2012, which was subsequently seized.
Undeterred, she assisted the Danladi Isaac group under the alleged watchful eye of Chief Runsom Baribote, an impeached chairman of NFLL, to clone an FCT Water Board bill, which was in the name of Mary Okoli to the name of Nigeria Football League Limited which the bank now claimed it used to authenticate and take instructions from Tunji Babalola and Esther Adesuyi to transfer entire funds to Club Owners account.
The NFLL has written letters to the bank asking for statement of account to which the bank has failed to reply.
Honestly, this is yet another test case for the EFCC to unravel!