Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has told the National Assembly to, without further delay, probe the poor performance of Nigerian athletes in the just concluded Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The group warned that the successful outing of Nigeria in the U-20 world athletics Championship should not the government from probing the woeful outing in Tokyo.
HURIWA said that the National Assembly’s lack of enthusiasm to undertake comprehensive oversight investigation of the circumstances that led to the most disgraceful outing of team Nigeria to the Olympic which was the fate of the nation’s delegation to the recently ended Tokyo Olympic was a systematic attempt by government to continue with the regime of impunity in the sports sector generally.
“Also, the impressive performance of youngsters from Nigeria to the under twenty world athletics Championship taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, must never be allowed to be used as a perfect alibi to bury the scandalous outing of team Nigeria to the Tokyo Olympic in which Nigeria had abysmal performance as almost the last in the medal table with just a silver and a bronze medal,” the group said.
The Rights group in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, called for a forensic probe of the circumstances surrounding the pulling out by one of Nigeria’s global sporting funders just few months to the Tokyo Olympics thereby making the athletes to suffer unwarranted neglect and lack of sporting materials.
A viral video had emerged during the games showing a Nigerian athlete washing his uniform and HURIWA described this as yet another low moment with a low medal count for Africa’s richest and most populous nation.
HURIWA said the failure by the Federal government to investigate what happened at that international sporting championships in Tokyo Japan even when these disgraceful performances and administrative fault lines were reportedly widely in the media, shows that the government is intolerant of excellence and merit based sports unlike most Countries of the World.
The Rights group said it endorses the analysis by an internal analyst that it is especially puzzling because Puma, the German sportswear giant, signed a $2.7 million contract in 2019 to produce kit for the Nigerian team, and enough for each athlete to have more than one set.
“HURIWA is therefore advocating wide ranging investigations to uncover the circumstances and the individuals that undermined the nation’s performance at the Tokyo Olympics in which even smaller nations as tiny as one local government area in Kano state Nigeria had more than ten Gold medals but Nigeria with over 200 million people got just a silver medal and bronze from two of our lady athletes,” the statement added.
Recall that during the Tokyo Olympic games, about 10 Nigerians athletes were disqualified by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
This particular incident reduced Nigeria’s hope of clinching more medals at the event.
The said athletes were accused of failing to meet the minimum testing required under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for ‘Category A’ federations.
The ‘Category A’ federations comprises those that are said to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.
Prior to the game, former Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), and current Chairman of the Kano State Sport Commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, had averred that Nigeria’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics was already coming late.
He posited that the performance of Nigeria at the 2016 Rio Olympics was below expectation, noting that it was occasioned by late or no adequate preparations and late release of funds.
Nigeria won only one medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic and achieved one more of that in Tokyo Japan.
Ese Brume won the bronze for the West African giants while Blessing Obodururu secured the silver medal.