Dogara: National Assembly Opposed to Activities Inimical to Sports Devt

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  • Hearing begins on NFF Bill, two others at House of Representatives

James Emejo in Abuja

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara wednesday reiterated the determination of the National Assembly to oppose any activity that is likely to pose adverse effect on the development of sports in the country.

He said the sector should be encouraged given its role as a unifying tool for peaceful coexistence.
Speaking at the opening of a Public Hearing on three sports related bills, Dogara expressed hope that the bills when passed into law will improve administration and management of the industry, establish institutions and agencies that will enable it realise its full potentials and capacity.

He also called on stakeholders to make meaningful contributions that will enrich the proposed laws.
“These Bills represent elements of change required to reposition the Nigerian Sports sector. To state that the sector has been on a steady downslide is stating the obvious. Hence, to concretise strategy on effective administration and management of the industry as well as establish institutions and agencies to enable it realise its full potentials and capacity is most timely for the sanctity of the sector and integrity of Nigeria in the comity of nations.

“The sport industry is one of the critical sectors of the economy. Over the years, sport has become a global economic and business undertaking; the need to get serious in this context cannot be overemphasised. Most importantly the sector represents a safe haven for the youths, where they are, in most cases, recognised nationally and internationally. Most importantly perhaps is the reality that sports has remained one of the greatest unifying factors to Nigeria as a nation for we all are indebted.

“The cardinal aim of the third Bill, to establish Nigeria Sports Anti-doping Agency devoid of internal or external interference is very crucial, particularly to comply with the express requirements of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Nigeria being a signatory. Also, the Bill will not only create awareness among athletes but restore the integrity and confidence in sporting activities.

“The National Assembly, as partner in the Nigerian project, will not condone activities inimical to the development of the Sports industry. I assure you that members of the committee, who are seasoned administrators and professionals in varied disciplines, understand the magnitude of the task before them and are prepared to consult extensively on these Bills to arrive at logical and functional conclusions.”

The three bills are (i). A Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian Football Association Act, CAP. N110, Laws of the The Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and re-enact the Nigeria Football Federation Act to Provide for the administration of the game of football in Nigeria;

(ii). A bill for an Act to provide for the administration and management of sports in Nigeria, establishment of sports institutions and facilities, harness sports for development;
(iii). A Bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Sports Anti-doping Agency responsible for carrying out the functions of Nigeria Anti-doping Code in accordance with the various international standards and to encourage and promote drug-free sports and recreation in Nigeria.

One of the sponsors of the three bills, Hon. Abubakar Kannike Garba (APC, Kwara) said the bills chronicled the responsibility of the sports commission regarding what it can and cannot do and provide the opportunity to tap into the private sector which would be more comfortable in investing in sports contrary to when the government is in charge of the sector.

He said the bill would help the Sports Commission to stand on its own and be able to sign contracts with private investors.

A former Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, former Directors- General of the National Sports Commission, Dr Patrick Ekeji and Malam Al Hassan Yakmut and 2nd Vice-president of the NFF, Malam Shehu Dikko, were amongst stakeholders in the sports sectors that made contributions yesterday at the public hearing at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Dikko gave the five major framework of the new NFF Bill to repeal the NFA Bill as follows:

1. Recognises the NFF as the body to manage and regulate football activities in Nigeria in line with its statutes as approved by FIFA;

2. Recognises the NFF statutes as drafted by its members and approved by FIFA as the supreme Laws for the Governance of the functioning of the organisation, administration and operations of the NFF;

3. Recognises that the statutes of the NFF may be amended from time to time in accordance with the procedures and process stipulated in the statutes;

4. Recognises football as a national asset and thus entitled to special privileges, concession and from time to time to receive grants, subventions and or appropriation from the government in furtherance to its objectives and functions and to facilitate the overall development of football in Nigeria and lastly;

5. The Bill technically is to provide the framework of the minimum provisions to ensure good governance, management, and operations of the NFF and in line with FIFA.