‘He is seeking attention’
Former World Cruiserweight boxing champion, Bash Alli, has accused Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, of luring him to his office to assault him and treat him like a common criminal. But the office of the minister has denied the allegation, saying Alli is seeking attention.
Alli had in a text message to The Guardian alleged that the minister lured him to his office to conclude plans with officials of the Bank of Industry (BOI) on his pet project, the Guinness Book of World Record boxing bout to be staged in Nigeria.
“After waiting for over three hours, I and six members of the LOC went to remind his personal assistant that we were still waiting when a European identified as an ambassador came and was ushered in,” Alli said.
He alleged that when he tried to find out why the European was being given preferential treatment, rather than educate him on the procedure, “the police behind hit me in the head with the butt of his gun and the other police hit my back. I collapsed and was revived at the ministry’s clinic.
“Now, I am on admission at the Trauma Ward, National Hospital, Abuja.
All he is pleading is for Nigerians to find out from the minister or his aides what offence he has committed to warrant such treatment.
Reacting to Alli’s allegation yesterday, the Special Assistant on Media to minister, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, described the text message as an unsubstantiated claim with intent to deceive the public.
According to the SA Media: “Ali came to see the Minister and was told to wait at the minister’s waiting room with the 10 people who accompanied him.
She said: “The Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Prof. Gabor Ternak who had an earlier appointment for 2.00 p.m. arrived a few minutes later and was ushered in by the Protocol officer. Bash Ali barricaded the entrance to the office of the minister with the men who accompanied him as he questioned why the ambassador would be allowed to see the minister while he, who came earlier was not given access.
“The uniformed security tried to persuade Alli and his men to leave the minister’s secretary’s office but to no avail. The boxer who was carrying a file and mobile phone carefully went to the secretary’s table to drop his valuables and then fell flat on his back across the doorway.
“Bash Ali was neither touched, shoved nor manhandled by security operatives of the minister. He feigned that he had been beaten up but we challenge him to produce physical evidence of assault, gun butt bumps, and bruises, swelling or otherwise as being presented to the public.
“He has a record of such antics following his despair to defend a world boxing title at over 60.
“In 2013, he alleged that he was beaten up by security operatives of the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi. In 2015, the WBF cruiser weight boxing champion was detained in Kuje prison following an altercation with the MD of a bank over funds for his title fight.”
Anibeze described Ali as an attention seeker who would stop at nothing to get funds for a purported World Guinness book of records fight.
“He needs to find alternative means of raising money for this World Guinness book of records title fight as government is finding it difficult to sustain programs on the sports calendar of sports federations at this time of recession let alone a title fight by a professional boxer.
“His allegation of assault by security personnel of the minister is cheap blackmail and won’t fly. Moreover, his forceful attempt to stop the Hungarian ambassador from gaining entry to the minister’s office is a national embarrassment by a legendary boxer like Bash and he should tender an unreserved apology for his public misbehavior,”Anibeze said.
The incident has already been reported to the police while other security agencies have been duly notified.