Govt. didn’t interfere unduly in NFA, says Sports Minister

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Abuja –  The Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, on Wednesday in Abuja said government did not unduly interfere in the affairs of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) as being claimed by FIFA.

Speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Danagogo said Nigeria was not at risk with the world football body over the crisis in the NFA.

The minister’s assurance however came shortly before FIFA announced the country’s ban over Saturday’s dissolution of the Aminu Maigari-led NFA board.

He said Maigari was ousted by a legitimate congress of the NFA, following allegations that Maigari was trying to manipulate the forthcoming NFA board elections to secure re-election.

“Nigeria is safe, I can tell you that. What FIFA wants is for the right things to be done and there should be a high level of independence in what is happening.

“So far, from what has happened, I think government has been very fair. Government has done everything possible not to unduly interfere.

“As a government, we have a constitutional duty to maintain law and order. When factions in the football family begin to dispute, we have a duty to see that we don’t allow them to kill one another.

“We won’t allow them to destroy the buildings where they are operating. Beyond that, we have not done anything. What we have done is to see that law and order is maintained.’’

The minister said the Maigari-led NFA had informed him, through a letter on July 3, of a court order which said it was not having a legitimate board.

“And, of course, the group of state Football Association chairmen and other stakeholders, who also didn’t want the Maigari-led NFA government to continue called their congress and the congress passed a vote of no confidence on his executive.

“Now, FIFA at the beginning thought that maybe it was a government action or a court action. But we have gone far beyond that.

“We are talking about a legitimate congress of NFA, of the football family in the whole country meeting and passing a vote of no confidence. That is not government action.

“It is strictly a decision of a majority of the stakeholders of football in the country.

“Ordinarily, the tenure of the Maigari-led executive has almost come to an end, and that is on Aug. 26.

“And it is a routine, even in our national politics, that once we get to an election year, there is always disputation between parties who are interested,’’ he said.(NAN)

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