A Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Thursday, vacated the order of interim injunction that barred the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) from going ahead with its elective congress fixed for September 30 in Benin City the capital of Edo State.
The interim order followed a suit that was lodged before the Federal High Court Abuja by the Nigerian Professional Footballers Association (NPFA).
The plaintiff had, among other things, prayed the court to direct the NFF and Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to halt further action on the elective congress of Nigeria’s football body, pending the determination of its case before the court.
PFAN had gone to court to ask for an amendment of the 2010 NFF Statutes, which led to Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 15 stopping the NFF elections slated for Benin City.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, ruling on an ex-parte motion, ordered the Youth and Sports Development Minister and the NFF President, or any person acting on their instruction, to maintain the status quo.
The players union was advocating for equal representation for all the five statutory bodies that make up the NFF as it relates to voting rights and representation on the NFF board.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the order, Nigeria Football Federation approached the Appellate Court with an application to set the order aside.
While granting NFF’s application on Thursday, the Court held that the lower court erred in law which occasioned a miscarriage of justice when his lordship held parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending the final order of the court.
The appellate court held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant an order not prayed for.
It also noted that the learned trial lower court erred in law for making the ex-parte order, further held that the case reverts to 31th October, 2022 for hearing, saying ex-parte order by the provision of the Federal High Court Rules and the settled state of the law, shall not last for more that 14 days.
“By granting the injunctive order and adjourning the matter to 31/10/2022, the trial Court tacitly made the ex-parte order to last 46 days. There was no prayer before the lower court asking for maintaining the status quo ante. It is a trite principle of law that a court can only grant what was prayed for.
“A declaration that the interim order was made without jurisdiction, an order setting aside,” the Appeal Court ruled.