FIFA N180 Million Palliative: Account For $8.4m 2014 World Cup Grant – Players’ Union Tells NFF
By Amaechi Agbo
The National Association of Nigeria Footballers, NANF, has asked Nigerians not to celebrate the much reported $500, 000 (N180 million) FIFA COVID-19 grant to be given to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF to cushion the impact of the ravaging virus on football activities across the world, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
The association in a release Saturday rather challenged the NFF to account for the $8.4 million 2014 FIFA World Cup grant the NFF led by Amaju Pinnik inherited from his predecessor, Alhaji Aminu Maigari led board.
The release notes that “This fund was alleged by NANF and other stakeholders to have been diverted into private pockets by Amaju Pinnick and his gang. The 2014 FIFA grant is a subject of investigation by the anti-graft agencies as we speak.”
The NANF also asked the Amaju Pinnick led NFF to tell Nigerians and properly account for the 2018 FIFA World Cup grant which it alleged has been paid to NFF but not through the federation’s account.
The NANF therefore warned Nigerians not to be carried away by the reported $500, 000 FIFA grant alleging that nothing good will come out of the money with the present composure of NFF Leadership.
“The National Association of Nigeria Footballers (NANF) states without fear of contradiction that Nigeria Football stakeholders should not celebrate the FIFA COVID 19 palliative as it will disappear same way as the 2018 FIFA world cup grant.
“On Assumption of office in September 2014 as NFF president through the back Door, Amaju Pinnick inherited the sum of $8.4m 2014 world cup grant left behind by Alhaji Aminu Maigari paid by FIFA on 18th December 2014 into NFF Zenith bank Domiciliary account number 5070407456.
“This fund was alleged by NANF and other stakeholders to have been diverted into private pockets by Amaju Pinnick and his gang. The 2014 FIFA grant is a subject of investigation by the anti-graft agencies as we speak.
“The FIFA tradition is to pay world cup grants every December in every world cup year usually six months after the world cup to all countries who participated. Where is Nigeria share of the 2018 world cup paid by FIFA to the NFF in December 2018? Having confirmed that the 2018 FIFA world cup grant was not paid through the main NFF Domiciliary accounts with Zenith Bank and UBA.
“The NANF made an official enquiry to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) relying on the Freedom of information ACT, to get information on the inflow of the 2018 FIFA world cup grant. The NANF enquiry seems to have been influenced and blocked by the CBN declining the release of the information through the FOI ACT through a second letter to NANF. The NANF has accordingly passed on the enquiry to the appropriate anti- graft agencies. So why are football stakeholders celebrating a mere $150,000 FIFA COVID-19 palliative?
“We saw the 2014 FIFA World Cup grant the account the fund came in through are in the public domain. NANF also told Nigerians the story on how it was allegedly diverted every cent of it. But where is the 2018 World Cup money?
“It appears to have disappeared into thin air, same way the COVID-19 palliative will soon disappear. But as part of our statutory responsibility in NANF to hold the NFF accountable, we have absolute confidence that the anti-graft agencies would soon unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the 2018 FIFA world cup grant to Nigeria. The NFF as a public institution in which we are stakeholders must account for funds meant for football development.
“Since the NFF relocated base to Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba as home ground for super Eagles and other National teams’ matches, The Delta state government in its magnanimity is alleged to have spent over 2.5B Naira in hosting super Eagles matches and sadly these funds never reflected in any of the NFF accounts.
“The NANF has shifted its focus on how the good gesture of the Delta state government has been utilized,” the statement signed by NANF President, Harrison Jalla read.
It could be recalled that Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC charged top NFF Officials to court on allegation of embezzlement of billions naira including the unaccounted $8.4 million FIFA World Cup grant. The case has been pending in court for years now.