By TAIYE AGBAJE
ABUJA- Former President, Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF), Alhaji Sani Lulu, and his ex-First Vice President, Mr Amanze Uchegbulam, have filed a N1.5 billion suit against the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development over alleged unlawful prosecution.
In a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/175/2023 filed by their lawyer, Mike Enahoro-Ebah, before Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiffs sued the Sports Ministry, Ibrahim Bio, who was former Minister of Sports as 1st and 2bd defendants.
Also joined in the suit are Dr Patrick Ekeji, former Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and NFF as 3rd to 4th defendants respectively.
In a writ, dated and filed Feb. 8, the duo sought nine claims.
Lulu and Uchegbulam prayed the court to declare that their arrest, detention and prosecution in charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/147/10 between the Federal Government of Nigeria vs. Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi and three others, filed on Sept. 30, 2010, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the instigation and coercive use of powers of the state by the 1st to 3rd defendants without reasonable or probable cause amounted to malicious prosecution and it was unlawful and unconstitutional.
NAN reports that Lulu and Uchegbulam were, on Feb 6, 2018, in a no-case submission filed, discharged and acquitted by the FHC.
Also, in appeal number: CA/A/161C/2016 between Sani Lulu Abdullahi vs. Federal Government; and appeal number: CA/A/162C/2016 between Mr. Amanze Uchegbulam vs. Federal Government, they were exonerated by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on June 8, 2018
The plaintiffs also sought a court declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Section 314 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, and Section 35 (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), they “are entitled to compensation from the defendants for false, spiteful allegations, arrest, detention and for malicious prosecution.”
They sought a declaration that they were unjustly impeached from office at the instigation of the NFF executive committee and congress on July 3, 2010 and ratified by the congress on July 9, 2010 on false criminal allegations.
They therefore sought for an order awarding compensatory damages against the ministry, ex-minister and Ekeji, jointly and severally, in the sum of N500 billion and another N500 billion against all the defendants for emotional pains, psychological trauma and stress underwent in the course of the malicious arrest, detention and prosecution.
They equally sought an order setting aside all the steps taken by the NFF executive committee and congress leading to the purported impeachment as president and first vice president of NFF respectively.
They also sought an order restating them back to office to complete their legitimate four-year tenure.
Lulu and Uchegbulam further sought an order awarding N500 billion punitive and exemplary damages against the NFF for the unlawful actions and decisions of its executive committee and congress.
They specifically sought an order directing the defendants to publish public apologies in three national dailies, prayed the court for an order awarding N5 million as cost of filing the suit.
NAN reports that Bio, prior to the merger of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development and NSC by proclamation of President Muhammadu Buhari on restructuring of ministries, departments and agencies of government on Nov 11, 2016, was also the chairman of NSC.
While Lulu was elected NFF president on Aug. 28, 2006, Uchegbulam became the first vice president on the same day.
Justice Omotosho has fixed April 4 for hearing of the matter..(NAN)