Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency have seized property belonging to Shehu Dikko, who was vice-president of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, until last month.
The house in the capital, Abuja, is one of several properties previously seized from former officials of the NFF, including president Amaju Pinnick, during a wide-ranging corruption probe in 2019.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission confirmed the seizure of Dikko’s property in a published advertisement in two national newspapers.
“The Commission is of the opinion based on the aforementioned investigation that this immovable property owned by Dikko is excessive having regard to his present and past emoluments and all other circumstances,” the ICPC statement said.
Back in 2019, the ICPC told BBC Sport Africa it was looking into a wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development had allegedly disappeared.
Dikko, who became NFF vice-president in 2015 and who doubled as the former chairman of the Nigeria’s top division, has hit back, with his legal representatives saying the allegations made against their client come with no evidence that any crime took place.
“This unfair media trial has been going on since 2019 when the ICPC published notices in newspapers for seizure of my client’s and his colleagues’ assets without any court order to back the forfeiture of my client’s assets nor inviting our clients to explain,” said Mohammed Sani Katu.
“We immediately engaged the ICPC and they invited our client to provide documents on the properties and he honoured and provided all proofs to show that all his assets are legitimate.
“Fundamentally, the fact is that my client own the properties long before he joined NFF in 2015,” Katu told BBC Sport Africa.
Katu insists that the case should have been thrown out by now, after saying the ICPC’s case was removed from the court rooms two years ago.
“In March 2020, the ICPC went to court to apply to withdraw the case as they were unable to provide any evidence on the properties that they say are illegally acquired,” Katu continued.
“The court duly struck out the matter on March 4 2020. This ought to have ended all issue.
“The court clearly affirmed that all the properties were owned long before our client got to the NFF and no substantive facts or prima facie evidence were supplied.”
The NFF, which receives its funding from the Nigerian government, has often been the subject of investigations as different anti-graft agencies probe how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.
A source at the ICPC said the agency is still investigating Pinnick, former NFF first vice-president Seyi Akinwunmi, board member Yusuf Ahmed Fresh and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi.Follow us on social media