Former President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Engr Shehu Ibrahim Gusau’s failure to respond to mails and reminders sent by the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU,led to Nigeria’s categorisation as a high risk doping nation, documents have revealed.
In November 2018, Gusau was notified that Nigeria has been placed in category B for 2019 after the AIU, under article 15 of the World Athletics anti-doping rules which categorizes national federations according to their doping risk to the sport.
The categories are A, B and C with A having the highest doping risk to the sport and C the lowest.
This categorisation determines the nature and scope of anti-doping obligations to be imposed on the federation.
After the AIU notified Gusau that Nigeria had been placed in Category B, the then AFN president made no move to ensure the federation’s compliance with its anti-doping obligations as contained in article 15.
The AIU sent several reminders to Gusau on the need for AFN to submit report and evidence of compliance but received no response.
“Despite numerous reminders from the AIU, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria has not submitted any report with respect to the 2019 anti-doping requirements set out under World Athletics Anti-doping Rule 15.’
”As a result, the AIU has not been able to evaluate your Federation’s compliance with the 2019 anti-doping requirements under Rule 15.’
”Following its 2019 review, the Integrity Unit Board has determined that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria should be placed in Category A for 2020, in consideration of the risk factors set out under Rule 15.3. The purpose of this letter is to advise you of this determination,’ read the letter addressed to Gusau in December 2019.
Athletics watchers believe the unfortunate incident in Tokyo where 10 Nigerian athletes were not allowed to participate due to the failure of the AFN to conduct three out of competition tests as a consequence of the federation’s categorisation as a high risk doping nation would have been averted if Gusau had complied with the rules in 2019.
The AFN under the leadership of Gusau between 2017 and June 2021 did not have an anti-doping committee and commission, the body that would have provided the professional competence and advice needed.