This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: MOC Wields the Big Stick On Cheats

The Main Organising Committee (MOC) of the on-going 18th National Sports Festival has reiterated its resolve to ensure that sanity prevails at the games taking place in Lagos as it will enforce all applicable sanctions for any violations.

Wednesday, after its sitting to consider cases before it, the Games Services Sub-Committee of the MOC headed by Gen Emmanuel Okaro (rtd), disqualified Miss Onu Peace of Team Enugu from participating in the on-going festival.

The player was featured by Team Enugu in a match against Team Akwa-Ibom which took place on Saturday.

Coach of Akwa Ibom State had lodged a protest against the eligibility of Miss Peace citing reason that the athlete had played not only in the 2011/2012 football season for Standard F.C of Aba, she indeed played in the 2008/2009 Women Professional League for Ibom Angels under the name-Chikordi Nwachifem.

It was therefore the decision of the Jury of the Games Services Sub-Committee, after its sitting yesterday to disqualify Miss Peace from participating in the on-going 'EKO 2012' and all matches she participated in should be awarded to the opponent(s).

Also, the MOC subcommittee upheld the disqualification of Miss Fatimah Bello for violating the provisions of the Sports Festival Rules.

Secretary of the Delta State Table Tennis Association, Mr. Patrick Marere, had appealed against the decision of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation allowing Bello to represent Lagos state at EKO 2012 as the athlete was currently on the employment of Delta State.

The Technical Director of Lagos State Table Tennis Association, Mr. John Peters, however stated that Bello was engaged to represent Lagos under a contract agreement signed with the State Sports Council and that the player also enjoys the Council's grant for athletes claiming that he was not aware that the athlete was in the employment of the Delta state Sports Council.

In its ruling, the Games Services Sub-Committee stated that "it is evident that Miss Fatimah Bello violated the provisions of Rule 7(i) of the National Sports Festival General Rules & Regulations 2012.It went further to state that "Miss Fatimah Bello is therefore disqualified from participating in the on-going 18th National Sports Festival EKO 2012 and all matches she participated in should be awarded to the opponent(s).

Similarly, a Team Lagos Judo athlete, Mr Jide Daniel at the on-going festival was also disqualified by a decision of the Games Services of the MOC which sat on Tuesday.

In its ruling on the case brought before it by Mr. Baba Sheshi of Niger State Sports Council on the eligibility of the athlete to represent Lagos State in Judo at the festival, the Games Services directed that all matches he had participated in prior to its verdict be awarded to his opponent(s) and the results adjusted accordingly.

In another development, the decision of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation withdrawing medals won by Gideon Aigbefor, a weightlifter representing Edo state was set aside by the Games Services of the MOC.

This followed a ruling by the jury of the Sub-Committee on the appeal filed by the Edo State Weightlifting Association against the decision of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation which had earlier declared Gideon Aigbefor ineligible.

Delta State had alleged that the athlete was on its pay-roll as such not qualified to represent Edo State.

The jury of the Games services however discountenanced the claims of Delta State as Edo State tendered sufficient proof that the athlete had been under its employment since 2006 representing and winning medals for the state.

The Games Services therefore ruled that "Mr. Gideon Aigbefor has met all eligibility requirements to participate and compete at the 18th National Sports Festival". It further directed that all the medals won by the athlete should be restored by the federation.

It will be recalled that the National Sports Commission, owners of the National Sports Festival has consistently warned against sharp practices by states encouraging athletes to win competitions by all means as this is against the spirit of the games.

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