How Commonwealth games ‘delayed’ AFN doping report

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The Chairman, Ministerial Investigative Committee on Doping Allegations, Pius Oteh, says that the recent Commonwealth Games was part of the reasons that delayed the submission of its report.

Oteh gave the reason at a brief ceremony to mark the completion and submission of the committee’s report to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, in Abuja.

The committee set up by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung to look into allegations against Olamide George, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria’s (AFN) Vice-President.

A petition sent to the Athletics World Body, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), led to the suspension of George from all athletics-related activities based on allegations of drugs violation.

The committee was set up on March 27, and was given three weeks to submit its report.

However, Oteh, a Director in the Ministry of Justice, admitted it took the committee over four months to complete and submit its report.

“Soon after this committee was inaugurated, the Commonwealth Games in Australia came up and some of the people we were meant to interact with participated at the Games either as officials or athletes.

“As the committee chairman, I was also away on another pressing assignment thereafter.

“But because of the enormity and implication of the task, I wanted to be actively involved in proceedings.

“So, we felt it was better to do a thorough job than hurriedly submit our report,” Oteh said.

Oteh, who is also a Special Adviser to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, thanked Dalung for providing the committee with enabling condition to carry out its mandate.

“We commend the minister and the permanent secretary for the objective and transparent manner in which they encouraged the committee to do its work.

“I recall that the minister mentioned during our inauguration that his interest was not to prosecute or intimidate any person but to ensure that appropriate facts were disclosed and justice done to all parties.

“This was the experience of the committee all through the duration of the assignment.

“We reached our conclusions on the basis of the facts before us, in clear conscience and towards the growth of sports in Nigeria.

Corroboration

Corroborating what the committee chairman said, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Olusade Adesola, commended the committee for its determination to do the job in spite of the members’ tight schedules.

“Oteh is not an idle hand in the Ministry of Justice. He is a director and a special adviser. He made sure he not only chaired but participated in the committee’s every assignment.

“The same thing applies to other members of the committee. After a rigorous exercise, we are glad that the report is ready,” Adesola said.

Some of the committee members at the presentation included Femi Oloruntoba, a Director in the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the committee’s Secretary, Segun Akinlotan.

Some officials of the ministry and the AFN were also in attendance.