By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has commenced public hearing on three bills seeking to attract adequate funding for sports development in the country.
The bills titled; a bill for an Act to repeal the Nigeria Football Association Act and enact the Nigeria Football Federation Act to provide for the administration of football in Nigeria, and a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Sport Anti-Doping Agency responsible for all anti-doping activities as enshrined in the World Anti-Doping Code.
The anti-doping bill, sponsor, Rep. Douye Diri (Bayelsa-PDP) said the bill would boost public confidence in clean sport and provide Nigerian athletes with the opportunity to compete clean in their various fields.
The agency he added, will afford Nigerian athletes at major global sporting events to be educated and understand their responsibilities.
“To partner with sport governing bodies to deliver clean sport, catch anyone, whether athletes or athlete support personnel breaking the rules and implement penalties as prescribed by relevant legislation.
“Encourage the reporting of wrongdoing, acting upon that information and protecting those individuals who report wrongdoing,” he said.
The second bill which seeks to provide for the administration and management of sports in Nigeria, including sport institutions and facilities is also meant to harness sports for development and to encourage, and promote drug-free sport and recreation in Nigeria.
Stakeholders in sport administration have backed the move by the House of Representatives to establish a National Sport Development Fund to encourage the private sector to fund sport in Nigeria.
Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike (Kwara-APC), said when established, the fund shall compromise of a 0.5 per cent tax on every company operating in Nigeria and two per cent on the revenue of sport lottery companies operating in the country.
He explained that the Nigeria Sports Development Fund will address the problems associated with the non-payment of national team coaches and technical adviser as well as reduce government interference in sport administration.
Amuda-Kannike said that the bill will also give legal backing to the existing National Sport Commission and reduce the seeming conflict between the commission and the minister.
Speaking earlier, the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara who was represented by Yakubu Barde (Kaduna-PDP) said that said the National Assembly will not tolerate any activity that will have adverse effect on the development of sports in Nigeria.
He also called for more focus on harnessing the business potentials of sports in Nigeria to boost the economy and develop the sector to global standards.
Dogara was speaking at a public hearing on three Sports related bills which he declared open at the National Assembly.