The Chairman of the League Management Company, Shehu Dikko, has met with the leadership of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command in the aftermath of the widely reported incident which occurred on October 9, 2016 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internal Airport on the arrival of the Super Eagles from their away victory against Zambia.
Dikko met with the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Mustapha, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Garba Mohammed, in a follow up to earlier meetings he had on October 10 and 11 with the Commissioner of Police, Legal, at the Police headquarters and the office of the Inspector General of Police, during which the incident at the airport was reported.
It will be recalled that upon the arrival of the Super Eagles, accompanied by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung; Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick; other senior government officials; NFF members; as well as numerous newsmen and supporters, two unidentified men, at the time, had approached Dikko, who is also the NFF 2nd Vice President, and insisted that he accompanies them.
They had claimed that his attention was required by the FCT CP, but did not present any identification or warrant to that effect.
Dikko had informed the men that he would see the Abuja CP in the morning as it was already past midnight then and went further to contact the Police HQ to ascertain the veracity of the said invitation, while Dalung also spoke to the Abuja CP through the phone of one of the officers.
However, despite being directed by authorities at the Police Headquarters and the Abuja CP to leave, the two officers remained within the vicinity, leading to some altercation with those at the airport, which resulted in a firearm being discharged in circumstances that are still unclear.
At the meeting, Mohammed, the FCT Police boss, stated that he had at no time ordered or directed the arrest of Dikko or Salihu Abubakar, the LMC Chief Operating Officer, for any reason whatsoever.
He further recalled that some persons had approached his office in the night with a photocopy of an alleged Court order of the Jos High Court, which is outside his jurisdiction, purportedly for the committal of Dikko and Abubakar for contempt of court in Jos.
He also explained that he became suspicious of the said document being a photocopy, which had also not been properly endorsed by any Court in the FCT as required by law. The CP said he merely directed two of his officers to take steps to invite the LMC officials to enable him hear their side of the matter pending legal advice on the matter, having considered that the persons who the alleged order was directed at were the Chairman and a Director of LMC who are well known public figures.
According to the CP, the matter was compounded by the fact that his men have been unable to trace these persons who presented the said document, since the events, noting that this could be due the realization that they apparently supplied misleading information to the Police.
At the meeting, Dikko clarified, with documentary evidence, that the LMC has filed an appeal against all the three orders made by the Jos High Court in the suit challenging the expulsion of Giwa FC from the League for multiple infractions of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL.
Giwa was expelled for refusing to play three commutative scheduled matches within the season.
The LMC boss submitted that in accordance with legal procedures, all parties to the suit are, consequently, now before the Court of Appeal, Jos Division and have duly filed their papers for and against the appeal.
The last adjourned date of the matter at the Court of Appeal was October 11, 2016.
He then urged the CP to impress on his men the need to allow the process of the law in the Court of Appeal to proceed unhindered in this matter so as not to inhibit the jurisdiction of the Court in any way, pending the making of final orders or judgment in the case, which is totally civil in nature.
CP Mustapha, in his response, said he has received appropriate legal advice both from the office of the IGP and his own FCT Command legal office on the need for the Police to maintain neutrality in this civil case since all parties are before the Court of Appeal and have submitted their issues for adjudication by that Court.
He assured the LMC helmsmen that the IGP places great premium on his officers and men being law-abiding and that his Command will be guided by this position and refrain from interfering with this case and the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal.
The FCT Police boss further directed the DCP Operations to beef up security within the LMC offices and around the person of the LMC Chairman to ensure the safety of all.
Dikko expressed LMC’s appreciation to the IGP Ibrahim Idris for instilling in his officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force the positive quality of being law-abiding law enforcement officers, which he said will contribute in great measure to the maintenance of public peace and order in our country and endear the IGP and the police to all Nigerians.
Commenting at the sidelines of the meeting, Dikko described the Jos High Court order against his person and Abubakar as oppressive and unjustifiable.
He argued that the Court made the order of committal for contempt of court order without any application whatsoever filed before it for that purpose and, despite the fact that the same court had previously adjourned the suit sine die or indefinitely pending the hearing of the appeal of LMC against the ex parte order of the Court directing that Giwa FC be reinstated to the League, three months after the Club’s expulsion.
He continued by pointing out that the injustice of the ruling was compounded by the fact that a false affidavit of service of Forms 48 and 49 was procured.
He insisted that the order of committal for contempt was made in the circumstances he has described in order to intimidate the LMC from pursuing the appeal at the Court of Appeal so that the many injustices committed in the handling of the case will not be exposed.
Dikko said further steps has been taken in addition to the appeal filed by LMC to report the questionable judicial conduct of the Judge of the Jos High Court to the National Judicial Council, while the matter of the false affidavit of service procured by the Jos High Court bailiffs has been reported to the Chief Justice of Plateau State.
The LMC has also filed another petition to the Chief Justice of Plateau State reporting the Abuja Airport incidence, which was all as a result of the unfair court orders issued under his jurisdiction, which is now being used to mischievously mislead the Police, despite the pendency of the appeal.
He urged all Nigerians to see this case as a grand design and conspiracy to cause unnecessary confusion in the minds of the public and derail the impressive and positive developments in the league in Nigeria under LMC.
He reminded all that the Jos High Court made its orders to ground the Nigeria League at the request of a single individual, the plaintiff in the suit, who claims to be a supporter of Giwa FC.
He further wondered: “How can football be properly organised and played if the millions of football fans in Nigeria were similarly to secure such far reaching orders from the Courts all over Nigeria regarding the different Clubs they support or follow.
“In that case, for instance, an individual with the flimsiest of reason could have obtained a court order to stop Rangers International FC from playing and winning the League title and the government and people of Enugu State from experiencing and celebrating the victory of their team after 32 long years of patiently planning and toiling to lift the League trophy. This would be the biggest tragedy in football development in Nigeria for which all stakeholders should be outraged and stand up to collectively defend the integrity of the game we all support.”
Dikko went on to assure football loving Nigerians that neither the LMC nor its officials have broken any Law as they only acted to defend and preserve the integrity of the public trust (NPFL) they are privileged to be managing and ensure its stability and growth within the Laws.
He concluded by declaring: “LMC will continue to follow all the right legal steps to respond to any orchestrated attack on the LMC, NPFL, the participating clubs and its officers and, we will never be distracted.”