Placing life bans on some athletes at the just-concluded 18th National Sports Festival (NSF) was in a bid to sanitise the festival, a National Sports Commission (NSC) official has said.
"It was all done to ensure that participating states and athletes play by the rules in future Games," Tony Ohaeri, NSC's Director of Press, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
NAN reports that the NSC had wielded the big stick on some athletes and states whose actions ran foul of the rules and regulations during the festival held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9 in Lagos.
Ohaeri said a lot of sharp practices were going to be curbed with the way the NSC had come down hard on erring athletes, states and officials at the 18th NSF.
"The Commission had to take that step not because it wants to jeopardise the athletes' respective career but to sanitise our sports for the sake of the future," he said.
The NSC Director of Press said the commission had since communicated the punitive decisions to the concerned states and all other necessary organs.
NAN reports that athletes punished for various violations of the rules included Oladele Ojo, also known as Alaba Joseph, and Olubunmi Olamide, also known as Olubunmi Olayemi, both from Ekiti.
Their two other teammates in the state hockey team, Olubunmi Emman and Ademisoye Olamide, were also banned from participating in the NSF for life.
They were also banned from participating in any event organized by the Hockey Federation of Nigeria (NHF) for two years for violating the eligibility rule of the sports festival.
Ekiti which registered and fielded the athletes was fined N100,000 while the state Association Secretary and team Head Coach were also punished.
They were suspended from participating in one NSF and all other programmes of the Hockey Federation for two years.
Jide Daniel, a Lagos state athlete in the judo event, was also banned for life. He had flouted the rule which stipulated that any athlete who had participated in three previous NSFs in a particular sports shall not be eligible to participate in that same sport.
Daniel was also banned from participating in any event organised by the Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF) for the period of two years.
Lagos state which registered and fielded the athlete was fined the sum of N100, 000.
The Head Coach and state Judo Association Secretary were also suspended from one NSF as well as any other programmes of the Federation for the period of two years.
The NSC hammer had also fallen on Peace Onu from Enugu state who changed her identity for the purpose of participating in the football event of the festival in breach of NSF's Rule 7.
Onu, also known as Chikordi Nwachifem, was banned for life from participating in the NSF and from participating in any event organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for a period of two years.
Enugu state was fined the sum of N100, 000 while the state Football Association Secretary and the coach concerned were each suspended for one NSF and any event organised by the NFF.
Fatima Bello who registered and competed for Lagos state while under the employment of Delta was disqualified from further participation in the 18th edition of the festival.(NAN)