The ministerial panel set up to probe why 10 Team Nigeria’s track and field athletes to Tokyo 2020 Olympics failed to complete the mandatory three out-of-competition tests (OCT) which led to their disqualification says it will conclude the assignment before the one month deadline explicitly stated in their letter of appointment.
The 7-man panel set up by the youth and sports minister, Mr Sunday Dare, is headed by Professor Ken Anugweje while a former secretary general of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mrs Maria Worphil, serve as the secretary.
The panel, according to Mrs Worphil, had its first meeting on September 2 while the second meeting was held six days later.
‘We are at the stage of in-person interaction and should conclude before the deadline given in our letter of appointment,’ said Mrs Worphil.
The panel, as part of its terms of reference will ascertain the roles and responsibilities of the National Antidoping Commission, the AFN, the Federation of Elite Athletes Development, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the affected athletes in the testing process.
It will examine the impact of the crisis that engulfed the AFN soon after the inauguration of the last board headed by Shehu Ibrahim Gusau in July 2017 on the testing process and normal administrative processes.
The panel will also proffer solutions that will prevent a reoccurrence and recommend sanctions and compensations as appropriate.
Prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) categorised Nigeria as a high risk doping nation following the AFN’s consistent failure to tidy its antidoping processes and non compliance with relevant World Athletics antidoping rules and processes.
Until last month, the AFN did not have an antidoping committee or commission or an antidoping officer in the four year tenure of the last board while the president took over the jobs of the secretary general as enshrined in the federation’s constitution (2017) for more than half of the board’s four year tenure by changing the password of AFN’s official email used to correspond with both the AIU and World Athletics.