On the 25th of July 2012, the Office of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Special Fraud Unit issued a wanted bulletin for one Harrison Jalla, President of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF).
One of his crimes was that he "fraudulently obtained the sum of Three Million Naira (N3, 000,000.00) from the complainant under the pretense of using the fund to facilitate the trip to Europe for trial and secure foreign club sides for Fifteen Nigerian local football player(s)"
A warrant of arrest was duly obtained from the Magistrate Court in Lagos State against him. Jalla was wanted for the offenses of "obtaining money Under False Pretences, Issuance of Dud Cheque and Stealing." These crimes were allegedly committed in Lagos around 2008.
This is the face of Harrison Jalla that many of his colleagues do not know. He is at the forefront of the campaign to remove the current Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, who is himself facing investigations of fraud. However, Jalla himself is no saint. While he is seeking to pick out the speck in another's eyes, he is full of logs.
After defrauding unsuspecting young players of their money and denying them a professional future in the game they love so much, Jalla cannot be trusted to lead the revolution our football dearly needs. Lately, he has been a regular guest at the Human Rights Radio in Abuja, throwing allegations left and right, while he himself is a serial fraudster and blackmailer.
On 20th February 2009, the General Secretary of the Division Africa of FIFPro, Mr. Stephane Burchkalier, had cause to write to the General Secretary of the APFON. The reason was to inform him that Jalla's NANF had been expelled from the FIFPro since November the year before during the Annual Congress in Chile.
Part of the letter reads: "Mr. Harrison Jalla, as from that date, cannot avail himself of being part of FIFPro. What's more; Mr. Harrison Jalla never had any official function in FIFPro."
The people currently running around with Jalla should know that he has been identified as a rabble-rouser and even the group, NANF, he champions, is not officially affiliated to the NFF and much less to FIFA.
In an email letter on 3rd February 2011 from the then Secretary-General of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, to the NFF Secretary-General, Musa Amadu, the NANF was roundly denounced. The letter said, "We understand that NANF is not a member of the NFF. In addition, the World Players Union, FIFPro, has confirmed to us that they do not recognize NANF in any way."
With all these rejections and renouncing, why is Jala still promoting himself as the saviour of Nigeria football? Why does he think he has any right to cast any aspersions on those legitimately tasked with football administration in Nigeria? Who are his backers?
Jalla even went as far as attempting to create a parallel board for the NFF until yet another letter from FIFA on 11th May 2011 shut it down. There are pieces of evidence that he uses his fake credentials to blackmail former Ministers of Sport, forcing them to pay for his silence.
His current victim, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, maybe his toughest opposition yet. The Minister has refused to interface with him and has blocked his several calls to his office and his personal line. Since Jalla has no legitimacy within the football administration circle and has so many credibility questions to answer, can one blame the Minister for staying away?
The constant harassment from Jalla on the Minister must be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. His call that Mr. Dare interferes with an ongoing investigation of the Pinnick-led NFF is not only illegal but also immoral. The Minister is a law-abiding man and Nigeria is governed by laws. Why should the Minister be asked to take action which is neither backed by law nor conventions?
If the harassment does not stop, the Minister may be advised to seek redress in court. The Police already have Jalla's picture on file, so printing another wanted poster will not be so hard.
Mr. Minister should press charges and let the law take its due course.