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Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Friday, 21 January 2011

Four former NFF officials claim Fifa jurisdiction

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Former NFF boss Sani Lulu
Former NFF boss Sani Lulu claimed that only Fifa could put him on trial

A ruling on four former Nigeria Football Federation officials accused of corruption is expected in February.

Ex-NFF boss Sani Lulu and three others are facing corruption charges in the capital Abuja on how the US$8m budget for the 2010 World Cup was spent.

When the hearing resumed this week, the accused challenged the validity of the court - claiming that only Fifa has the jurisdiction to prosecute them.

After hearing both counsels, the judge adjourned the case until 16 February.

Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the anti-corruption agency, insists the quartet on trial will be prosecuted under the law of the land.

"We charge them for defrauding the federal government of Nigeria and corruptly using their offices to confer unfair advantage on themselves together with five other charges," Babafemi told BBC Sport.

"They keep talking about Fifa money but they are all Nigerians and got the money in the name of Nigeria to start with.

"Their arguments lack merit and the accused will have to be prosecuted under the law of the land."

Sani Lulu, Amanze Uchegbulam, Bolaji Ojo-Oba, and Taiwo Ogunjobi were arrested by the agency seven months ago over corruption allegations.

After being charged, the officials are now standing trial on a seven-count charge ranging from fraud to abuse of office.

Sponsorship row

In a separate development, the NFF says the Nigeria Premier League board (NPL) have re-opened bids for the title sponsor of the local league following a long-running dispute.

The NPL had secured a record US$17m four-year deal with mobile phone company MTN in early December, a move that earned the praise of clubs in the top division.

But that celebration was cut short by the NFF, which insisted the decision was unacceptable.

On Friday, the NFF issued a statement the league body was re-opening the bid for the title sponsorship after a review of the bidding process.

Print Sponsor

see also
NFF keen on ending money crisis
08 Dec 10 |  African
Maigari wins controversial poll
26 Aug 10 |  African

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