Consequence Of Doping Is Monumental, Experts Warn Athletes At Lagos SWAN/NDLEA Symposium

Posted on September 16, 2023

Nigerian athletes across all sports have been warned to stop using performance-enhancing drugs as it could spell the death knell not only for their careers but also for their health and their families and the image of the country. 

These conclusions were drawn by various speakers at a symposium organized by the Lagos State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in collaboration with the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The symposium, the first of its kind in the history of the sports journalism family in Nigeria, was held on Wednesday at the Golfview Suites and Conference Center in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The event was also made possible thanks to the collaborative support of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Ministry of Sports Development, Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Golfview Suites and Conference Center and National Anti-Doping Committee NADC.

The President of Lagos SWAN, Mrs. Olatutu Oladunni, has commended the NDLEA for its confidence in the platform SWAN provides for the agency to combat drug abuse among Nigerian athletes at a time when drug problems are rife in world sports.

Oladunni commended the leadership of the NDLEA led by Brigadier General (Rted.) Buba Marwa, the Lagos State Government, NAFDAC, the National Anti-Doping Committee and other partners for making the symposium a success, noting that contact with the media would be of great help in deepening the fight against drugs and illegal substances. to its roots in the country. She assured that Lagos SWAN would continue to support the fight.

The Zonal Director of Zone H of the NDLEA, Dr. Segun Oke, who spoke on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig.General (Rted.) Buba Marwa pointed out that athletes take drugs in every competition to win a laurel, which is like using another person to win a medal. Drug use in every competition is like that of athletes to achieve artificial success, which is more or less a scam,” said Dr. Oke.

The NDLEA Director warned that doping leads to artificial problems, shame and embarrassment, adding that Nigerian athletes should practice their sport cleanly and not consume drugs before or during competitions.

Dr. Gbenga Olowo, President of SABER West Africa and Central African Republic and special guest on the occasion, criticized the use of drugs by athletes to win laurels, warning that athletes need not take drugs as there are alternatives to earn money from sports, even as he called on the Nigerian government to take a close look at sports tourism that can generate revenue for the country.

“It is unfortunate that tourism can only account for about 1% of our GDP. This is not a good result considering what most countries in the world earn from tourism. I would like the current government to focus more on tourism, especially sports tourism,” he added.

ACGN Umar Isah Adoro, State Commander, NDLEA, Lagos State Command, who commended the inspiration behind the organization of the symposium hailed the management of Lagos SWAN for approaching the NDLEA to organize the program. According to him, the sports platform, which has been a unifying factor for Nigerians for years, is the real ground on which the NDLEA can champion the cause of war on drugs in Nigeria.

“Our athletes are excellent ambassadors for the nation, and we do not want them to take shortcuts to win laurels. “It is dangerous, and the multiplier effects have always been worrying and deadly,” he added.

Commander Usman WADA, Commander, NDLEA Airport, Lagos, maintained that many athletes who used drugs did so out of ignorance, adding that officials, particularly coaches, could have led them to believe that “they were using drugs in a positive way which would help them”.

“This is very worrying considering how young people are currently engaging with drugs and illicit substances and the NDLEA is not resting on its oars because we are winning the war,” he said.

Dr. Ralph Okor, Deputy Director and Chief Doping Control Specialist of the National Anti-Doping Committee, in his lecture titled “Doping and its consequences in sports”, highlighted the dangerous consequences of doping for athletes and the nation and warned that it pays off and better for athletes to win by conceding a goal than to cheat with drugs.

The NDLEA presentation at the symposium was delivered by DCN Chinyerem Eziaghighala, the Deputy Commander, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA Lagos State Command.
The official discussed the importance of the NDLEA’s intervention in the spread of drug abuse in the country, acknowledging the fact that the agency has succeeded in controlling the spread of drugs and enforcing anti-drug laws in the country.

According to her, with the support of Nigeria, especially the media, the NDLEA will continue to achieve success in its work.

Other speakers at the symposium spoke in detail about the dangers of drug abuse and doping in sport.
One of the speakers is Dr. Joy Mayaki, a lecturer at the National Institute of Sports (NIS). She holds Ph.D.in exercise and sport psychology. She is the Vice President of the Nigerian Sports Coaches Association, Treasurer of the National Association for Health and Physical Education, Recreation, Sports and Dance (NAPHERSD) and Treasurer of the National Association of Women in Sports (NAWIS).

Dr. Mayaki spoke about drug use and abuse: an alternative perspective to combat this scourge.

Others include Pharm. Mrs. Simisola Opanuga, Lagos State Ministry of Health. She is the Secretary of the Lagos State Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drugs Control. She talked about the science of drug abuse prevention.

The duo of Dr. Adebukola Bojuwoye and Dr. Tajudeen Sule of Lagos State Ministry of Health but attached with the Lagos State Sports Commission, spoke on the history of doping in sports, the new era of doping in sports, drug abuse and doping in sports federations and illegal substances.

The audience comprising athletes, coaches, officials, journalists, NAFDAC officials and a team of NDLEA officials from the Lagos State Command were enthusiastic about the topics discussed and there was a general consensus that while Nigerian athletes are good at what they do, the athletes should refrain from cheating through doping as it could endanger their lives.

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