Amaju Pinnick, right, has been charged by a federal court ©Getty Images

Controversial Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick has been charged by a Federal Court i Abuja with corruption linked to a grant the organisation received from FIFA.

Pinnick, also a first vice-president of the Confederation of African Football, has reportedly been suspended following the Court verdict.

He was among four NFF officials arraigned for an alleged mismanagement of an $8,400 (£6,500/€7,500) payment from FIFA relating to Nigeria's performance at last year's World Cup in Russia.

According to reports in Nigeria, Pinnick, secretary Sunusi Mohammed, first vice-president Seyi Akinwumi, second vice-president Shehu Dikko and executive member Yusuff Fresh, have also been accused of "moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4 billion (£8.6 million/$11 million/€10 million)".

The case contains 17 counts, including criminal breach of trust, theft, criminal misappropriation and criminal conspiracy.

The NFF has denied wrongdoing and claims the case is part of an attempt to interfere in the leadership dispute at the governing body.

"NFF states that the orchestrated media blitz about the existence of such charges is nothing but the desperate and malicious efforts of the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) to lend itself as an instrument of cheap blackmail in the fight for the political leadership of NFF," the organisation said.

Amaju Pinnick, right, has continually been a controversial figure in African football ©Getty Images
Amaju Pinnick, right, has continually been a controversial figure in African football ©Getty Images

It marks the latest incident involving Pinnick, considered a key ally of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and has plunged Nigerian football further into crisis.

Last year, the NFF narrowly avoided a FIFA suspension due to a power-struggle including Pinnick and rival Chris Giwa, who claimed to be the legitimate head of the national governing body.

FIFA chose not to act after Pinnick was given back control of the NFF offices but corruption allegations have continued to hang over the organisation.

Giwa believes he was legitimately elected during a contested ballot in 2014 and was backed by Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalung last August.

A Supreme Court verdict also ruled that Giwa should be in charge but FIFA backs Pinnick and refuses to recognise his rival.

insidethegames has contacted FIFA for comment.