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World Taekwando Body Orders Nigerian Technical Director To Undergo Compulsory Safety Training Over Assault Of Female Athletes

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 Chika Chukwumerije

According to a report by SaharaReporters, the International federation governing body of Taekwondo, World Taekwondo has recommended that the Technical Director, Nigerian Taekwondo Federation, Chika Chukwumerije, enroll in professional training that would ensure the safety of the athletes.

WT also asked the NTF to institute protective measures that would be endorsed by the world governing body of the Taekwondo sports for the complaints.

These were revealed in a statement signed by the WT Secretary General, Hoss Rafty, and obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday.

According to the letter addressed to him, dated Wednesday, August 18, 2021, Chukwumerije was given till August 24, to respond or face stiffer resolve of the World Taekwondo.

In WT letter to Chukwumerije, the WT Secretary-General said, “In reference to your case, be advised that the WT Integrity Committee was provided the complaint file, provided to you on 22 June 2021, as well as your answer to the complaint provided on 6 July 2021.

“Following a review of the complaint and your response, the Committee found most persuasive the Court Decision of 31 May 2021, ref SUIT NO.FCT/HC/CV/577/15 1 (the “Court Decision”), and its holding on pages 20-21 that the facts in question did occur as reported. 

“The Committee notes your stated intent to appeal the Court Decision. However, a) given the uncertain timeline for such an appeal, and b) the fact that the initial Court Decision took more than six years to reach, and c) the priority to safeguard athletes and err on the side of caution in given the disparity of power in this situation, the Committee has determined that steps should be taken by WT to safeguard the welfare of athletes.   

“Therefore, the Committee has issued the following guidance: i) that the NTF puts in place appropriate protective measures, to be proposed by the NTF and approved by the Committee; and, ii) that you undertake safeguarding education via a recognized institution or program, to be approved by the Committee. 

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“We ask that you confirm your agreement to abide by the Committee’s recommendations. 

“Kindly provide your answer to this by no later than 24 August. Be advised that if you do not agree to follow the Committee’s recommendations WT be required to take further steps towards enforcing the Committee’s findings and guidance.”

Recall that Chukwumerije was accused of physical assault by female athletes, as the High Court in Abuja dismissed a N500 million libel suit by him against Yemi Adeyemi-Enilari and Delateur Foundation on May 31.

In the suit filed on December 22, 2015 against Adeyemi-Enilari and Delateur Foundation, Chukwumerije had claimed that they (defendants) published on Nigeria Taekwondo Black Belt College Facebook page, a letter dated Monday October 5, 2015 purportedly addressed to “President, Nigeria Taekwondo Federation” concerning the claimant with the caption “Petition: Abuse and Assault of Taekwondo Athletes.”

It was learnt that other athletes who suffered similar abuse reported their ordeals to their state associations as one of the victims, Fatimah Abdullahi, had recounted her ordeal in a petition written to the NTF.

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“During my first training he (Chukwumerije) instructed us to do certain things and when we didn’t do it right he used a rope tied with paper to beat us,” she stated in the report of the disciplinary committee cited by our correspondents.

“There was a time he wanted to use a tiny iron rod to beat us, but Master Tony Anafulu stopped him from using it on us,” Abdullahi said.

SaharaReporters published that despite being found guilty of abuse and assault, Chukwumerije led the Nigerian Taekwondo contingent to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Can you imagine that the same person found guilty of abuse and assault is leading the Nigerian Taekwondo continent to the Olympics? Someone that ought to be in prison now?

“Instead of taking action against him, the Nigerian government, Sports Ministry, and the National Sports Commission (NSC) decided to reward coach Chika Chukwumerije,” a source at the ministry had said.

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