Mr Mohammed Alkali, Chairman, Nasarawa State Football Association (FA), has threatened to sue nine persons aspiring for elective positions in the forthcoming FA election for making “unfounded and spurious allegations” against him.
“The aspirants have wrongly accused me of embezzling funds I was not given. They have defamed my person by this false and malicious allegation. I will institute legal action to clear my name,” Alkali told newsmen on Friday in Lafia.
The nine aspirants, who are contesting for various elective positions in the FA elections slated for May 27, had, in a petition to the EFCC, accused Alkali of squandering N12 million meant for the maintenance of the Lafia stadium.
The aspirants – Ibrahim Shigafarta, Haliru Ibrahim, Nuhu Abdukhamid, Bamaiyi Anangba, Audu Illiya, Emmanuel Ayuba, Muhammad Ayitogo. Basira Salisu and Jibrin Musa – attached receipts of payments and documents to prove that the money was released.
They claimed that the money, which was paid to Alkali by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), in 2014, was squandered without any records to show how it was expended.
The petitioners also alleged that the FA Chairman received N1.8 million from the state government for sponsorship to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, after receiving a another sponsorship grant from the Federal Government.
They also called for the dissolution of the state FA because the tenure of the officials had elapsed.
Alkali, in his reaction, said that he was shocked, sickened and disappointed.
“The allegations are spurious and without any iota of fact. I have resolved to sue the petitioners for defaming my character,” he said.
He described the claims that he had received money from NFF to renovate the Lafia Township stadium as “ridiculous and laughable”, given the fact that the the stadium was owned by the state government.
“I am glad that they have ridiculed themselves in the public domain. How can you allege that the NFF gave money to the state FA to renovate a stadium that is not even owned by the NFF or the FA? If we own the stadium, why are we going to seek approval from government to use it?
“No stadium is owned by any FA in any state in Nigeria; so the issue of NFF releasing money for maintenance of stadium does not even arise. It is total falsehood.
“Whatever is the outcome of their petition to EFCC, I am not bothered because I did not do anything wrong and I am suing them because they must provide evidence to prove that I collected money from NFF to renovate a stadium not owned by the FA,” he said.
The FA Chairman also said that he could not understand how he broke the law when he received sponsorship grants from both the state and federal government to travel to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, since he was as an executive member of the NFF and a state FA chairman.
“I find that allegation rather petty because with the two grants, I transported three members of the FA executive council to Russia and gave them allowances.
“In any case, I received the sponsorship from the federal government as a member of the NFF executive committee to be part of the Nigerian delegation to Russia, and also received sponsorship from the state government as the FA chairman and a member of the state delegation.
“I used the sponsorship from the state government to sponsor myself. I also added some money to the grant so that three members of the state FA committee can also attend the world cup. That was a huge plus to the Governor Umaru Al-Al-Makura administration.
“The three persons – Ismaila Kwanga, Abdulhameed Babarabi and Haladu Akwashiki – are alive to testify. They were there with me. My leadership is an inclusive one. I carry everyone along. That is why when I saw the opportunity, I gave it to some members of my team so that they too could join us.
“I felt bad and ashamed when I read in the news yesterday that I had been petitioned over my sponsorship to Russia in 2018. I asked myself, did I steal the money? Did I write or force both the federal and state government for it? Everything decision I took was transparent and open,” he said.
Alkali also explained that the call for the dissolution of the FA was needless since a tentative date had been set for election of new officers that would constitute the new FA executive council.
“That is why I said that their allegations are not just laughable, but ridiculous. For clarity purposes and for various reasons, the elections were postponed, but they will hold on May 27.
“If you don’t want someone in a position, lobby to vote him out. It is that simple. I want the investigation into this petition to be thorough and quickly carried out so that I can take them to court to pay for their lies against my character,” he said.