The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dragged an online sports
publication, www.bsnsports.com.ng to court over a publication on the
website of the medium on 29th August, 2018, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report authoritatively.
www.bsnsports.com.ng which enjoys an extensive readership across the globe had run a story on the said date with the caption, ‘U-20 World Cup: Allowance Scandal Hit Falconets.’
In a civil matter, the NFF through suit case number FCT/HC/CV/975/19 instituted by its Head of Women Football, Ruth David dragged the Abuja-based online sports newspaper and its editor to a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Kwali, Abuja over allegations of false
report and defamation.
Meanwhile, BSN Sports as guaranteed by constitution expressed its principle of objectiveness as the writer in trying to balance the story as
the ethics of the job demands, called and quoted the Head of Women Football in the NFF, Miss Ruth David who denied the information and claimed that the Falconets and the officials of the team have been paid and that
no money got missing.
Despite fulfilling what professionalism of the job demanded, she however, not satisfied with the report, Ruth then in 2018 dragged the online newspaper, BSN Sports and its Editor to court over what she claimed to be a defamatory report.
She said the report defamed her character and portrayed her personality in bad light and slammed a suit of Twenty Million Naira (N20m) only on the newspaper.
But, when the case came up Thursday 23rd May, 2019 before Justice
Anna Iyabeni Akobi, seating at FCT High Court in Kwali Area Council, BSN Sports secured the services of Barrister Samuel Ihensenkien, an
activist, constitutional, criminal, and human right lawyer and Barrister Fayaienjigha Israel Jacob as its defence counsels.
The two defence counsels expressed the optimism that the whole world will know the truth about some of the affairs at the Nigeria Football Federation by the time the suit will come to a reasonable conclusion.
Ihensenkien has won many high profile cases in the past such as Federal Government of Nigeria Vs Nnamdi Kanu, Ekere Madu in his case vs DSS in 2015, Ekeson Plaza Vs AMAC and also Ekeson Plaza Vs Abuja Environmental Protection
Board (AEPB) to mention but a few.
Ihensenkien based on his wealth of experience was able to argue BSN’s case logically and the court on the grounds of fair hearing adjourn the case for defendant counsels to file their defence. As Ihensekhien Samuel Junior Esq was recently briefed the judge adjourned the case to 25th June, 2019.
In his reaction after the court process, Sam Junior (the human right lawyer, BSN Sports counsel) said: “We have
done our best today and the matter is adjourned till on the 25th June
and with everything we will put together, we should be able to put up
a defense so that the whole world will know the truth. I am confident
that at the conclusion of this matter, there will be an expose and the
truth will come out as regards some state of affair at the NFF.
“Definitely, all that will be put in our statement of defense. This case is a pointer to some of the things that is going on at the NFF.”
The judge adjourned the case to 25th June 2019 for hearing and asked
the plaintiff to come to court with their two witnesses.
Below is the excerpt of the “defamatory” story
U-20 World Cup: Allowance Scandal Hit Falconets
0 Comments, 29/08/2018,
by Niyi Busari
U-20 World Cup: Allowance scandal hits Falconets
…We have not been paid – athletes, officials
…They have all been paid – NFF staff
Like the dawn of a new day, another scandal of funds mismanagement has rocked the U-20 camp of the Falconets with the controversy over the non payment of camp allowances.
Coaches and athletes in the camp insisted with vehemence that they were not paid their camp allowance but the NFF official attached to the team insisted they all have been paid.
BSNsports investigation across board the number of players and officials sampled had a single voice, “we have not been paid” while the lone ranger is Miss Ruth David, who is insisting “I have paid them all.”
Like a stoking fire, it was an official who snitched that he is yet to earn from his sweat. When cross checked and there was denial, the story was expanded and it was rife that the team was not paid.
An NFF staffer pointed out that, “that is the trend in our female national teams since the Amaju Pinnick regime.
Ordinarily, Miss David is not supposed to handle cash. It is the team secretary that was meant by work schedule to handle cash. Who gave her the responsibility to handle the cash? That is the point to start the investigation.
Every team she had handled had the same problem of non full payment and no one dares complain.”
One of the athletes added that “we have not been paid all our 14-days camping allowances in Austria.
Quoting what they were told in Austria, “an NFF official claimed that the head of women football, Ruth David, lost £10,000. They said the money will be paid after the tournament.”
A coaching staff corroborated the story saying “we really suffered in Austria.
Thank God for the Sports Minister who came and dropped some personal cash for us. We were promised that we will receive the money before we go to France but it never come.
“Even as I talk to you, we are owed the 14-day camping allowances which they have not paid till now. They said the head of women football in NFF lost £10,000 so we can’t collect our money until we reach Nigeria and up till now, we have not heard anything,” said another member of the team.
When our correspondent called Ruth David, she denied the allegation of losing any money and stated clearly that NFF is not owing neither the players nor the coach a dime.
She confidently asked our correspondent to come to the NFF office to see all the documents that were used in paying their entitlements. She concluded that she will not present the documents unless the newspaper’s sources are mentioned.
“Who said so, we are not owing anybody a dime. All their money were paid before we leave (sic) France. You can come to the office to see all the documents for yourself, but not until you tell me the official who told you this, I will not show you the documents. ”
She said and angrily dropped the call.