Senate Passes Tinubu’s National Anti-Doping Bill For Second Reading 

432

The Senate has passed President Bola Tinubu’ National Anti- Doping Bill, 2024(SB.455) for a second reading.

The development is coming barely 24 hours after the bill was read for the first time, as the upper chamber on Wednesday hurriedly passed it for second reading.

The Bill was read for the first time on Tuesday, 21% May, 2024.

The Bill is an Act to Domesticate and Enforce in Nigeria, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention against Doping in sports and to Implement Nigeria’s Obligation to the World Anti-Doping Code, International Standards and for Related Matters.

The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Sports to report back in two weeks.

Recall that as an Executive Bill, the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central had presented on Tuesday as it was read the first time.

Also recall that President Bola Tinubu had last week written the Senate, seeking for legislation against doping geared towards the prevention of Nigerian athletes from consuming performance enhancing substances before or during sporting competitions.

President Tinubu’s letter was read by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary

In the letter which serves as an Executive Bill, the proposed “National Anti-Doping Bill 2024” will regulate substances that can be consumed by athletes during sporting events.

According to the President in the letter, the Bill will provide a legal framework for the establishment of the National Anti-Doping Organisation, an organisation that regulates sporting competitions, just as he explained that the establishment of the agency was a requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the core document that harmonises anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities around the world.

President Tinubu who noted that the law will help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences, inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events, said, “in accordance with the provisions of section 58 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, I forward herewith the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“The National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 seeks to create an administratively independent National Anti-Doping organization which is a cardinal requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the international standard for code compliance by signatures.

“The enactment of this vital legislation will also help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences, inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events.”

The President who specifically urged the lawmakers to consider the bill before the Olympic Games seminar scheduled to be held in Paris in July for Nigerians to be part of the competition, said, “It is my hope that this submission will receive the humankind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Nigeria for passage of the same to law before the Olympic Games seminar in Paris in July 2024.

In his lead debate on Tuesday, on the general principles of the bill, the Senate leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, said, “This is an Executive Bill sent by Mr. President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, as part of the country’s direct response to the domestication of the International Convention against Doping in Sports. This multilateral UNESCO Convention/Treaty was adopted by member states at the General Conference held in October, 2005 in Paris, as measures to be % adopted by nationals to prevent and eliminate drug doping in sports.

“Therefore, Nigeria, as one of the signatories to the Treaty, is expected to domesticate the Treaty in order to tackle the ugly menace of doping amongst our sports men and women.

“The Bill, in a nutshell, seeks to domesticate the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sports to, among other things, establish the National Anti-Doping Centre for the purpose of combating doping in sports in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and UNESCO Convention. The objectives of the Bill are, to wit: Domesticate the International Convention against Doping in Sports, establish an independent body charged with the responsibility for the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code, and International standards subscribed to, by Nigeria; – Protect the rights of athletes to participate in doping-free sporting activities; – Promote fair and equal treatment of all athletes and their health;

“Co-ordinate and harmonise effective sports anti-doping programme at the national and international levels, with regard to detection, deterrence and prevention of doping; and Provide measures for the prevention and control of doping in sports.

“It is instructive to note that Nigeria, as part of its efforts to implement the anti-doping code in line with the UNESCO Convention, had, in October, 2011, made an interim arrangement whereby the National Anti-Doping Committee was established. However, in legislation, its Ommittee 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 with 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.”

Comments are closed.