Nigeria’s Boxing Champion Bash Ali accused policemen attached to the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, of brutalizing him, he has promised a court action against ministry, Punchng reports.
He alleged that security operatives hit his head with rifle butts and also kicked him in the ribs causing him to lose consciousness. He says he still felt pains in his ribs and on his skull where he was assaulted by Dalung’s police orderlies.
He vows to take legal action against the minister and the policemen, adding that he was talking to his lawyers about the next line of action on the alleged assault.
He said, “Last Friday, the Perm Sec told us the minister said we should come on Monday. We were excited and I and some members of the LOC went to the ministry. We got there at 10am and waited almost three hours.
Later they told us he said we should come back again, that he just resumed. While we were discussing this, the Hungarian ambassador walked in and I asked the minister’s personal assistant, ‘How can this man just walk in to see the minister and in our own country, we couldn’t see him’ and that was how his police aides started pushing me; one hit the back of my head with the butt of his rifle and my back and I just collapsed.”
Ali accused the minister of trying to frustrate the Guinness World Record boxing championship he was organising, adding that Dalung had been plotting to cut a deal for himself with the sponsors-the Bank of Industry and NEXIM Bank.
But the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Sports, Tolu Makinde, said Ali was merely stopped from molesting the ambassador and alleged that the boxer blocked him from entering the minister’s office.
He said, “The security had to politely take him away to allow the ambassador to enter; he just enacted a melodrama and feigned slumping. He said he would not stand up, so they took him to their clinic for observation and rest.
He wasn’t manhandled, but they (policemen) had to ensure he gave the right of way to the ambassador. You know what would happen if the ambassador was molested.”
However in a statement released today, the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, says Bash Ali’s claims are untrue.
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. The Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Prof. Gabor Ternak who had an earlier appointment for 2pm 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 Bash 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 or 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, 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