MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) — Nigeria have avoided a FIFA ban on competition after a last ditch intervention from the country’s President Goodluck Jonathan, reported by the AP to have initiated a “truce” between warring groups of its Football Federation.
A faction of the Federation board withdrew their lawsuit against other members of the NFF, and a lawyer for the plaintiffs told a correspondent from Nigerian website The Punch, “My client is well aware of the implication of another FIFA ban on Nigeria and has also listened to the appeals from well meaning Nigerians to withdraw the case from court.”
On Tuesday FIFA sent a letter to the Football Federation which gave Nigeria until midday Friday to solve a dispute over leadership of the organization, or its football teams would be banned from competition until May 2015, a period which includes qualification for next year’s African Cup of Nations.
The two factions of the NFF are led by Amaju Pinnick, Chairman of Delta FC, and Chris Giwa, owner of Premier League side Giwa FC.
In July elected NFF President Aminu Maigari and his board were sacked following a high court injunction ordering their suspension over corruption allegations. Maigari was arrested on his return from the World Cup in Brazil.
This led to FIFA suspending Nigeria for nine days because of government interference, which is forbidden by the world football organization. As a consequence of the ban Nigeria reinstated Maigari.
In August a meeting was held to organize new elections for the NFF executive. Aminu Maigari and the NFF secretary were unable to attend, having been detained again for general questioning by the Department of State Security. In their absence Chris Giwa was named as NFF President, in elections not recognized by FIFA.
Giwa was ordered by FIFA not to take up the post of President, which was again taken up by Maigari, and Nigeria was not suspended. A vote was then held in September despite a Nigerian court injunction against it, which elected Pinnick as President. Upon winning the vote, Pinnick told the BBC: "The plan is to make genuine reconciliatory moves. I will personally go to Jos to see and speak to Chris Giwa because we all need to come together for the sake of our country and football.”
Giwa this week also made a conciliatory statement, telling Nigeria’s Daily Post: “I don’t have any problem with any member of the football family. So if there are issues to be settled, it is not between me and Pinnick. It is for all the football family to come together and sort things out.”
The BBC reports that on Wednesday the President had a meeting with the two men and ordered Giwa’s camp to withdraw their case against Pinnick.