…as NOC athletes’ rep seeks lawyers’ support
We’ve strong evidence against coach, says AFN panel
End may not have been heard about the controversial detention of an athlete, Blessing Ogundiran, by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ikeja, Lagos, in November 2018.
The athlete was alleged to have been arrested over a three-count charge of burglary, stealing and poisoning, and was detained for 11 days before she was released.
Investigation by New Telegraph revealed so many intrigues into the case including a cover up involving some athletes.
According to a source at the Police College, Ikeja, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, Ogundiran was arrested for allegedly breaking into Inspector Oyewole Tajudeen, popularly called Coach Akeem’s home, and stole $200.
But the source said such was not the case as the athlete never stole anything but they were trying to force her into confessing to what she never did.
“I spoke with her while she was in detention and she opened up to me about everything,” the source said.
“They are trying to force her to confess to spicing the drink of two other athletes; Nigerian-born Bahraini 400m sprinter Oluwakemi Adekoya and Onome Nathaniel, with banned substance which led to their suspension by World Anti-Doping Agency,” the source said.
“The controversy will continue until the Athletic Federation of Nigeria comes up with its findings and pronounce a judgement on whosoever guilty in the case so as to serve as deterrent to others.”
The athletes’ representative on the board of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Enefiok Udo-Obong, has promised to take up the case of illegal detention of the athlete as he seeks for the services of lawyers to help in defending Ogundiran in court.
Some of the lawyers banking on to take up the case are All Progressive Party counsel, Festus Keyamo (SAN), Seyi Akinwunmi, the Nigeria Football Federation vice president among others.
Udo-Obong said his investigation revealed that the coach wanted Ogundiran to admit that she spiced Adekoya’s drink, so that the Bahraini athlete could be left off the hook.
He added: “Blessing refused, so he petitioned SARS and claimed she poisoned her and stole her 200USD. He used his influence to keep her locked up. Some people tried to secure bail for her to no avail.
“The long and short of it is that case was eventually heard by a panel chaired by Pharmacist Femi Ayorinde in December where the issues of the drug was looked into, but her incarceration was not treated.”
The Technical Director of the AFN and the athlete’s representative on the board, Sunday Adeleye, said they were waiting for the report of the panel set up to look into the case.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the panel set up by the AFN, Ayorinde, said they had strong evidence against the coach and would be submitting their findings soon.
Ayorinde said: “We invited all the people involved and I cannot exonerate anyone, including the coach because the athletes confessed to some underhand practice.
“Apart from Nathaniel who we spoke to in Nigeria, the panel also had the privilege of speaking with Adekoya and she gave us good insight into the issue.
“Exchange of text messages, video and voice recording between the coach and the athletes that showed a lot of dirty things.
“We have already sent our report to the president of the AFN, Ibrahim Gusua, and we are going to officially present it to the board after the election. We also copied IAAF Integrity Unit and we have already recommended disciplinary action against those found guilty.”