Paris 2024: Senate Passes Anti-Doping Bill for Reading

May 24, 2024

The Senate yesterday passed for second reading, a bill which seeks to prohibit Nigerian athletes from consuming performance enhancing substances during or after sporting competitions.

President Bola Tinubu had sent a request to the Senate to enact the law last week through a letter read on the floor by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary.

The bill was titled “National Anti-Doping Bill 2024.”

It was meant to domesticate and enforce in Nigeria, the international convention against doping in sports ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in France.

It was also meant to establish the Nigeria anti-doping centre to implement Nigeria’s obligations to the World Anti-Doping Code in conformity with international standards.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, in his lead debate explained that the proposed legislation, when signed by President Tinubu, would facilitate the establishment of an independent body that would be charged with the responsibility for the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code, and International Standards subscribed to by Nigeria.

Bamidele said it would protect the rights of athletes to participate in doping-free sporting activities.

He also said it would promote fair and equal treatment of all athletes and their health.

“It will co-ordinate and harmonise effective sports anti-doping programme at the national and international levels, with regard to detection, deterrence and prevention of doping.

“It will provide measures for the prevention and control of doping in sports”, he said.

Bamidele added: “The UNESCO Convention, had, in October, 2011, made an interim arrangement whereby the National Anti-Doping Committee was established.

“However, in legislation, its committee was not backed by legal instrument or legislation, its operation and objectivity remain weak and unattainable.

“As a result, the current administration deemed it necessary to introduce this Bill because of its strategic importance and in recognition of the fact that Nigeria is a sport-loving country.

“The country has numerous sports enthusiasts, who view sports as an epicentre of unity and togetherness.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the Senate aligns itself with the reasoning of the Executive as this Bill seeks to bring about improvement and ensure fair-play in the sporting environment.”

Senators in their contribution supported the bill and approved that it be read for a second time when it was put to voice vote by Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

Akpabio thereafter referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports for further legislative work.