• Draws board attention to Supreme Court verdict
• NAPTIP, Immigrations to vet World Cup list
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been urged to shelve all plans for elections into the next board and concentrate on the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung made the remark in Port Harcourt after the Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Simba of DR Congo in a farewell/ friendly game at the Adokiye Amesiemeka stadium.
The Minister noted that the Federal Government had invested so much towards qualifying and achieving a respectable World Cup result, stressing that a call for purchase of forms and setting up of an electoral committee at this time was a distraction to the team’s preparation.
Dalung called the attention of the Federation to the Supreme Court’s verdict and warned that calling for elections without legal advice from the Attorney General will further generate confusion and distraction.
“The NFF should put everything concerning elections and electoral committees on hold and concentrate on the World Cup preparation which is more important to the passion of the country.
“The country has invested so much right from the campaign for a ticket till date so we cannot afford any distractions in the name of elections.
“The World Cup and elections cannot be pursued concurrently therefore all issues on the next elections into the NFF board should be suspended pending the outcome of legal advice from the Attorney- General on the decision of the Supreme Court on the current crises in the Federation.”
He advised that all efforts should be tailored towards mobilizing support for the team to the World Cup, which is the most important and paramount thing to do at this time.
The Super Eagles kick off their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16, 2018 in Kaliningrad.
Meanwhile, the minister has directed the NFF to submit all names of persons, state and Federal Government delegations, supporters and NFF delegation to the 2018 FIFA World Cup to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for screening.
Dalung gave the directive following an alarm raised by NAPTIP, alerting the general public on plans by human traffickers to use the upcoming World Cup to traffic Nigerian youths.
At a news conference in Abuja yesterday, the Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed that part of the plot was to float unregistered football supporters clubs, unofficial government delegations, as well as unregistered youth bodies and ferry them out of Nigeria using the World Cup tournament as a ploy.
A statement from the Sports Ministry reads: “The NFF has therefore been directed to present all lists of Nigerians on the supporters club’s list and any delegation(s) to NAPTIP for clearance before departure to the World Cup.”
Dalung advised the NFF to ensure that only genuine World Cup spectators and supporters were presented for clearance to travel out of the country.
The Minister also promised to engage the support of the Controller General of the Nigeria Immigration service to checkmate the traffickers ahead of the World Cup.
Dalung is to meet with the Director General of NAPTIP, Ms. Julie Okah-Donli, the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria to map out measures to reduce trafficking of persons during the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.