Anti-graft body examines Nigerian football leaders

Published Jul. 7, 2010 11:25 a.m. ET

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency plans to investigate current and former leaders of the nation's football federation.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesman Femi Babafemi told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the investigation centers on former president Sani Lulu and former vice president Amanze Ugbulam.

Babafemi said investigators are also looking at former technical committee member Taiwo Ogunjobi and current general secretary Bolaji Ojo-Oba.

Babafemi made his comments after President Goodluck Jonathan backed down on his threat to suspend the federation after Nigeria's poor performance at the World Cup. FIFA had been set to sanction the country if Jonathan followed through on his threat.

Nigeria left the World Cup with just one point, earned in a 2-2 draw with South Korea in its last game. Nigeria lost to Argentina 1-0 in its Group B opener and fell to Greece 2-1 in a game turned by the first-half ejection of midfielder Sani Kaita.

However, controversy followed the team during its brief appearance in South Africa. Corruption allegations against the federation's management arose after officials fired coach Shaibu Amodu in February and hired Swedish coach Lars Lagerback only about four months before the World Cup.

Presidential spokesman Ima Niboro said last week that all funds directed toward the Nigeria Football Federation would be examined and ``all those found wanting will be sanctioned.'' Police apparently entered the federation's offices last week, though a federation spokesman said the officers came only to oversee a planned rally there.


Oil-rich Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is often considered by analysts and watchdog groups to have one of the world's most corrupt governments.



Economic and Financial Crimes Commission:

Nigeria Football Federation: