Barrister Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Youth and Sports has charged the newly inaugurated Investigative Committee on Doping allegations against Mr Olamide George to complete its findings and submit its report in three weeks.
Dalung gave the charge on Tuesday while inaugurating a 5-man committee to investigate a doping violation incident which occurred at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.
He urged them to establish whether or not the Nigerian government had acted in a manner to cover-up any acts of doping as alleged in a petition to the World Anti Doping Agency WADA by Tafida Gadzama, a member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and to invite any body suggested to be involved in the malpractice for interrogation.
“I urge you to discharge your responsibility diligently and leave durable legacies and stand tall in posterity. This committee will have documents made available to it which will serve as an instrument upon which it can discharge its responsibilities”.
Barrister Dalung explained how an alleged doping case which occurred in 2010 had lingered on till date.
“There were issues of doping in 2010 and a ministerial committee was set up which recommended sanctions for one of the two indicted persons. The athlete involved has served a two-year ban but nothing was heard of the one who held a higher responsibility of being in custody of the athlete at the time of the allegation.
“The ghost of injustice kept haunting the report of the Ministerial committee till date and this is the reason why this committee has been given the mandate to re- examine the issue and subsequently free this Ministry from the witch haunt of the ghost of injustice since 2010.
“This Committee is hereby charged to be very fair and thorough in investigating the issue. The committee shouldn’t look at the status of people involved in this case but at the rule of law. You should re-examine the case and come up with a decision in 21 days,” Dalung said.
Responding, the Chairman of the Committee Mr Pius Oteh, Director and Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice thanked the Minister for the confidence reposed in all the nominees forwarded to the ministry to undertake the task.
“I commend the ministry under your leadership for the proactive steps it has already taken in respect of this matter. I believe that in doing this, you will lay the foundation for the sustainable development of Nigerian Sports, in a manner that emphasizes integrity of athletic performance and integrity in the processes that we need to put in place to ensure that there is accountability at all levels.
“We are not unmindful of the negative impact of doping in sports generally, not only in Athletics. At individual level, it is the highest form of cheating in any sport because it puts the perpetrator in undue advantage over the other contestants, and apart from the health issues, that is the most unethical thing any athlete can get involved in.”
Earlier the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mr Olusade Adesola reiterated the need for the re-examination of the case for transparency, equity and fairness to all.
Other members of the committee include Mr Danjuma Mohammed, Director Legal Services of the Ministry, Gen Johnny Hamaking, a representative of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Mr Oloruntoba Femi Amos, representative of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency and Dr. Olusegun Akinlotan, a Deputy director of the Ministry who will serve as the Secretary of the committee.
Mr Olumide George, the Vice President of the AFN has since been suspended to enable an unhindered investigation into the matter.