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Doping: WADA won’t sanction Nigeria, insists Okowa

The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, has allayed fears that Nigeria will be sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency after its National Anti-Doping Agency failed to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, Saturday PUNCH reports.

This is the second time in four years that WADA threatened to sanction Nigeria for its sloppy handling of anti-doping issues, including domesticating international anti-doping rules.

But Okowa believes that the sports ministry will amicably resolve the lingering issues concerning Nigeria’s anti-doping agency and WADA.

WADA, in a statement made available to our correspondent November 16, stated that the country’s anti-doping agency had not addressed several critical requirements after an audit was carried out in October 2022.

Venezuela and Tunisia were the other countries found guilty of the same offence.

The world body also handed NADO a deadline of December 8 to comply or face damaging consequences which would affect funding, their right to host or co-host regional, continental and World Championships.

WADA added that should NADO fail to meet the stipulated deadline, it would lose its privileges until the reinstatement conditions were met.

The statement from WADA to NADO partly read, “The Nigeria NADO’s representatives will be ineligible to participate in any WADA Independent Observer Program or WADA Outreach Program or other WADA activities.

“The Nigeria NADO’s representatives will be ineligible to sit as members of the boards or committees or other bodies of any Signatory (or its members) or association of signatories until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met (see ISCCS Article B.3.1 (d)).

“Nigeria’s flag will not be flown at regional, continental and World Championships, and events, organised by major event organisations (other than the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games), until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met.”

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, Okowa said, “The sports ministry is handling the issue and eventually they will tell us how to go about it.

“All necessary documents have been packaged and sent to WADA about NADO and Nigeria’s action plans.

“Nigeria won’t be sanctioned. That matter has been on since the previous tenure but the sports minister has assured that it will be resolved, so, we are waiting to here from them.”

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