'Nigeria's Suspension A Blackmail From FIFA'

•Adokie Amiesimaka

•Adokie Amiesimaka

Former Nigeria international, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka has called on the government and people of Nigeria not to succumb to the blackmail of FIFA for suspending the country from international football in the wake of recent happenings in Nigerian football

•Adokie Amiesimaka
•Adokie Amiesimaka
•FIFA boss, Blatter
•FIFA boss, Blatter

FIFA sent a letter to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) last week expressing its concern after the NFF was served with court proceedings preventing its president, Aminu Maigari from running its soccer affairs.

“As a result of this decision, no team from Nigeria of any sort (including clubs) can have any international sporting contact.

“During the period of suspension, the NFF may not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches,” FIFA announced yesterday.

A trained lawyer, Amiesimaka, who is popularly referred to as the Chief Justice of Nigerian football, described the suspension of Nigeria from any form of involvement in football activity with the committee of nations as “blackmail.”

He added that the current situation could act as a blessing in disguise and a catalyst to change for the good of football in Nigeria.

“Order of court can’t therefore be said to be government interference on account of supremacy of the constitution, separation of powers, and rule of law.

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“Government can and should demand accountability for disbursed public funds. On no account should Nigeria succumb to blackmail from any source.

“If FIFA disregards lawful action and insists on suspension so be it. It could be needed impetus to compel overdue restructuring of our football,” he said.

Though, FIFA clearly outlined the prerequisites for the suspension to be lifted, Amesiamaka, a member of the Super Eagles that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980 said told SuperSport.com that “FIFA is probably not well-informed. Wasn’t it reported that Congress of the body dissolved it in accordance with FIFA-approved statutes?

“Regarding earlier reported court order, FIFA can’t query due obedience and compliance. After all, FIFA itself is subject to jurisdiction of Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) which is itself subject to jurisdiction of Swiss judicial system even on sports-related matters especially on public policy, fair hearing, and jurisdiction.”

Veteran sports journalist, Fabio Olanipekun noted that what is going on at the NFF doesn’t warrant a suspension from FIFA, adding that the authorities should handle the crisis with care.

Former image maker of the NFF, Austin Mgbolu while not blaming FIFA for its action, wants the issues of corruption raised by the NFF General Assembly to be properly looked into, saying “we should not because FIFA will ban us encourage corruption and maladministration. The issues raised by the Congress are germane for us to have a good governance and accountability at the NFF; we should not encourage corruption.”