The Nigeria Anti-Doping Committee
Nigeria is a signatory to the two key documents that established and guide the conduct of ant-doping in sports globally. These documents are, the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) and UNESCO International Convention Against Doping in Sports (the Convention).
The Code is a fundamental and universal document developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to provide uniform standards that guide countries in the initiation and implementation of their National Anti-Doping Programmes. WADA, the hybrid independent Agency with the mandate to coordinate and sustain the international fight against doping in Sport, regulates anti-doping activities globally through the Code and regularly monitors compliance of signatory nations to mandatory provisions of the Code. Nigeria adopted the Code on 5th March 2003 when the Honourable Minister signed the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sports. The Convention is the enabling legal document that binds governments of the world to implement the provisions of the Code. Nigeria in affirming its support to the global fight against doping ratified the Convention on 29 December 2005 and was one of the first six countries in Africa to ratify the Convention.
In light of the fore-going, Nigeria is obligated to comply with and implement provisions of the Code. The overarching objective of the Code is for countries to initiate and implement a National Anti-Doping Program (NAP) that is compliant with the Code guidelines. The frontline entity provided for in the Code to drive a Code compliant NAP is generically known as the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO). This has been established by the Ministry as the National Anti-Doping Committee. When its establishment Act is finally signed into law, it the NADC will be established as statutory Agency of Government with necessary authority, mandate, jurisdiction and funding on anti-doping in Sports in Nigeria.
The National Anti-Doping Committee (NADC)
The National Anti-Doping Committee (NADC) comprising a Board and a technical arm came into existence on 11th October 2011. Following the expiration of the tenure of the first Board, the second Board of NADC was inaugurated by the Honourable Minister on 6th September 2018. The present 10-man Board is made up of membership from the six geo-political regions of the country and four institutions with mandates relevant to anti-doping, namely Federal Ministries of Justice, Education and Health and the Nigeria Olympic Committee.
NADC was established as result of a Presidential assent and an expedient interim measure to provide a Code compliant structure that would drive our national anti-doping activities and programs and serve as the nation’s NADO. The Committee is also saddled among others with the responsibility of midwifing the establishment of an independent and legislatively backed NADO in the country.
The establishment of the NADO is presently progressing to a reality as the Bill for its establishment was passed by the House of Representatives on 2nd May 2019. The Bill is expected to be ratified by the Senate and passed for the assent of Mr. President before the end of the 8th Assembly. The assent of the Bill by Mr. President would finalize the establishment of a NADO in the country that would be called the Nigeria Sports Anti-Doping Agency (NISADA).
Domestication of the UNESCO Convention
The UNESCO Convention is an international treaty that Nigeria signed into. It provides the legal basis on which countries of the world implement the World Anti-Doping Code. State Parties are therefore, required to domesticate provisions of the Convention into their national laws.
The domestication of the Convention into our national laws is in progress and at an advanced stage. The Legal Unit of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has provided the Federal Ministry of Justice with necessary documentation and input to develop the Council Memo for the consideration and approval of FEC for the domestication of the Convention. Accordingly, the matter of finalizing the domestication of the Convention is now with the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Nigeria’s Delisting and Reinstatement
On 14 November 2018, Nigeria received formal notice from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declaring Nigeria a non-Code compliant signatory for failure to address critical areas of non-conformities identified with our National Anti-Doping Program (NAP). The ban officially came into effect on 6 December 2018 with consequences, which included that our drug testing related and TUE-related activities would be subject to supervision by an Approved Third Party at the expense of Nigeria (NADC), including up to six site visits a year, with all costs to be paid in advance. The third party so approved and agreed to, was the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sports (SAIDS), the South African NADO.
The Ministry took urgent steps to address the critical issues of non-conformities, which resulted in the reinstatement of Nigeria by WADA as Code compliant on 21 February 2019. Key among efforts undertaken to reverse Nigeria’s Code compliance were:
i. Funding for the National Anti-Doping Program (NAP)
The Ministry sought and obtained approval of Mr President for a sum of N428million to implement some of the identified critical activities to address the Delisting of Nigeria.
Furthermore, a line vote with funds for anti-doping activities was admitted in the Service-wide Vote of the 2019 National Budget. Going forward and upon signing into law of the NADC, the Agency will now have its full budget. .
ii. Agreements with the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS)
The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sports (SAIDS) was the third party recommended by WADA and approved by the NADC to assist Nigeria in capacity development and strengthening of key areas of our NAP. A working Agreement with accompanying Project Plan is expected to be signed by the NADC and SAIDS. A second umbrella Agreement would also be signed by both Parties with WADA to enable WADA play supervisory role over the implementation of the NADC-SAIDS Agreement.
As the protocol demands, both Agreements were transmitted to the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice for review and clearance to sign. However, reviews made by the FMJ were being resisted by WADA who insisted that the agreement would only be signed as submitted by the WADA Office. The concerns of WADA are being forwarded to the Attorney General of the Federation for advice.
iii. Visit of WADA and SAIDS to Nigeria
One of the criteria for re-enlistment was the conduct of site visits to Nigeria by WADA in order to assess the issues with our Code compliance and provide necessary advice.
WADA undertook the first site visit on 4 – 5 February 2019 and was represented by the WADA Africa Regional Director, Mr. Rodney Swiglaar. A stakeholders meeting was held during the 2-day visit and had in attendance, members of the Board of NADC, the Ministry and representatives from NOC. Also, visiting during this period was the delegation from the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sports (SAIDS) lead by the CEO of SAIDS, Mr. Khalid Galant. SAIDS was primarily on the visit to commence the implementation of the NADC_SAIDS Agreement with capacity development activities, which comprised an orientation session for the new Board members of NADC, conduct of mandatory training for the newly constituted TUE members, training for Doping Control Officers in Lagos and Abuja.