Minister hails Tinubu, NASS over national Anti-Doping Bill

ABUJA- The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh has commended the National Assembly for the accelerated passage of the National Anti-Doping Bill.

The minister in a statement on Sunday also acknowledged and saluted the vision of President Bola Tinubu for placing premium on the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly.

“The transmission of the Anti-doping Bill 2024 to the National Assembly and the accelerated passage of same remains a landmark achievement of this administration.

“It is a show of the courageous and bold leadership of the president, a final and appropriate response to the perennial issues of doping that have characterized Nigeria’s relationship with the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), ” he said.

The minister noted that the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) had threatened to ban Nigeria from international competitions because of Nigeria’s inability to domestic the national anti-doping law, amidst other non-compliant issues.

“This administration was greeted with WADA issuing  a notice to ban Nigeria from International Competitions which degenerated to the point that the agency took Nigeria to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

“Amidst other non-compliant issues, the main challenge was Nigeria’s inability to domesticate the National Anti-doping Law  and setting up a National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) as part of its obligation having signed the international convention in 1999.

“For years, the country has grappled with meeting up to the expectations of the World Anti-Doping Organization ,despite being a foundational signatory for 25 years,” Enoh said.

He expressed optimism that with the passage of the bill, Nigeria will no longer have doubts about its participation in global sporting events and its eligibility to host sports competitions amongst other perennial issues.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the development is coming weeks before the country’s participation at the Paris Olympic Games.

NAN reports that the bill, among other things, also seeks to establish the National Anti-Doping Centre to combat doping in sports, in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.The Code is a core document, that provides the framework for anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sports organisations and among public authorities. It is designed to harmonise anti-doping policies and ensure the standards are the same for all athletes.

The executive bill which now makes it incumbent for Nigeria, to domesticate the treaty to tackle the ugly menace of doping amongst sportsmen and women, was read for the second time in May, and has scaled the third reading.

President Tinubu had urged the Senate to review and approve the bill.

He argued that it would prohibit athletes from using substances that enhance their performance.

Tinubu’s request was conveyed in a letter read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber by the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau.

The president stated that the bill would establish a legal framework for the formation of the National Anti-Doping Organisation.

He further emphasised that the establishment of the agency, was essential for Nigeria to meet the standards outlined in the World Anti-Doping Code. (NAN)

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