In continuation of his moves to restructure Nigerian sports and align it in line with international best practices, the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh on Thursday met with members of the Nigeria Olympic Committee and National Anti-Doping Committee to address challenges faced as regards compliance with the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Speaking at the meeting held on Thursday, at the Minister’s office inside the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja, Enoh reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria is given its rightful place in global sports, hence the need for athletes to compete cleanly in both local and international competitions, as well as meet the standards set by WADA.
Senator Enoh noted that as minister, he is working for the success of both government and the ministry and will do everything in his capacity to ensure Nigeria complies with WADA’s conditions to avoid athletes getting sanctioned, especially in the build-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
He assured that he will intensify efforts to ensure correctional measures are taken to meet WADA’s rules and regulations, as well as other corrective actions that will address extended non-conformity and other critical issues.
The minister directed the Committee to draw up programmes that will support the government in domesticating the United Nations Convention and ensure that other requirements needed for adequate compliance to doping regulations are met for the cleanliness of Nigerian athletes, in and outside the competition cycle.
Earlier, the Chairman of the National Anti-Doping Committee, Prof. Ken Anugweje applauded the Minister for his inclusive administration where all sectors of the ministry are carried along.
He stated that the major challenges confronting the Committee are funding and lack of sufficient trained personnel. He appealed to the Hon. Minister to assist them in employing more trained officers that will enhance their capacity to meet the prerequisite of WADA and as well, fill up all operational loopholes.
In another remark, the President Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Gumel informed the Minister that WADA signatories have periodically threatened the country as a result of non-compliance with their rules.
While commending the Minister for his positive start to repositioning sports in the country, Gumel used the opportunity to remind him that Nigeria is yet to pass the WADA Act of Parliament into law and appealed to him to ensure that the bill is passed.
The Director of Anti-Doping, Ms Fadeke Fadeyibi in her remarks, assured the Minister of the Committee’s support to ensure the country is ranked as one of the best in anti-doping compliance in the world. She added that with the determination of the Minister to solve the problems in the agency, the nation is on the right pedestal.