By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Nigeria face yet another ban and the possibility of expulsion from the African Nations Cup if they continue to uphold the results of disputed elections last week, FIFA warned on Wednesday.
Nigeria have until Monday to restore to power Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Aminu Maigari, deposed in an election last week while he was detained by police in a second attempt to oust him from office since the World Cup.
FIFA said in a statement it had sent a letter to the NFF confirming that Nigeria will be suspended "should there still be persons claiming to have been elected to NFF positions on 26 August 2014 and occupying their offices on Monday, 8 September 2014 at 08.00 (Central European Time)".
NFF elections last week saw Chris Giwa take over as president but his election has been widely disputed within Nigerian football and rejected by FIFA.
Maigari was arrested at the same time as the poll, in an unsubtle attempt to keep him from the vote, and held by police but not questioned and later released.
The involvement of security forces led Nigerian media to speculate the giant west African country’s government were seeking to unseat Maigari but wary of FIFA’s policy of no government interference in the running of its member associations.
Maigari had also been held for a brief period after arriving home from Brazil in July following Nigeria's elimination in the World Cup last 16 when a first bid to sweep him from power was made by rivals.
A court order was obtained by a rival faction ordering an immediate election in July but world football's governing body rejected this too, suspending Nigeria for seven days before the status quo was restored.
FIFA’s latest threat means Nigeria could be stopped from playing their scheduled Nations Cup qualifier in South Africa next Wednesday which would effectively see them out of the competition and unable to defend the title they won in 2013.
They can however go ahead with the opening Group A qualifier against Congo in Calabar on Saturday.
"Should the new deadline not be respected, the NFF will be automatically suspended until the board claiming to be elected vacates the premises of the NFF and the NFF General Secretary is able to perform his work without interference," FIFA said.
"The NFF Executive Committee as it was composed on 25 August 2014, meaning under the presidency of Aminu Maigari, should then convene as soon as possible a first extraordinary general assembly to elect the members of the electoral committee and a second extraordinary general assembly in the shortest time possible allowed by law in order to proceed with the elections of new NFF office-bearers."
(Editing by Rex Gowar)