The House of Representatives on Tuesday took a significant step aimed at passing the anti doping Bill into law, which it believes will help protect Nigerian athletes.
The bill, which scaled the second reading stage at the plenary session of the House presided by Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, specifically seeks to establish the Nigerian Sports Anti-Doping Agency in the polity.
Sponsor of the Bill, Mr. Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa) said the agency would be responsible for carrying on the functions of Nigeria Anti-Doping Organization as enshrined in the World Anti-Doping Code in accordance with the various international standard.
Noting that the Bill would boost public confidence in sporting activities, he said the passage of the legislation would help the country’s sports industry in partnering with other international bodies.
The lawmaker warned that failure to pass the bill expeditiously is likely going to result in the country falling foul of Article 23.5.5 of the code, which stipulates that WADA will report the declarations of non-compliance to the Sports Movement and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a scenario that will cause Nigeria to be banned from international sporting competitions.
“In competitive sports, doping refers to the use of banned athletic performances enhancing drugs by competitors. The use of banned drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical, and therefore prohibited, by most international sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. Doping has spread to vulnerable athletic and non-athletic populations alike. Apart from performance enhancing considerations, people again dope to prevent pain and to improve their looks.
“There are health risks involved in taking doping. It can lead to kidney damage and increased aggression. Other side effects include baldness and low sperm count for men, and increased facial hair and deepened voices for women.
“According to the UK Anti-Doping Agency, substances and methods are banned when they meet at least two of the three following criteria: they enhance performance, pose a threat to athlete health, or violate the spirit of sport,” he said.