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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sports minister, Dalung, denies boxer Bashiru Ali's assault allegation

The Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Youth and Sports,  Nneka Ikem Anibeze has described as falsehood, a story being circulated by former cruiser weight boxing champion Bashiru Ali aka Bash Ali that he assaulted by security officers attached to the Minister at his office in Abuja on Monday February 13th. 

Bash Ali who is currently hospitalized, had in a text message sent to newsmen, claimed that the Minister's security aides had denied him access to see the Minister who invited him over to his office.

 According to Bash, himself and some of his other associates had gotten an invitation from the Minister to see him by 10 on Monday. They arrived the office and waited for three hours. Afterwards, his secretary came out to tell them they cannot see the Minister as he just resumed on that Monday and has not much time to attend to them. As they were talking, the Hungarian ambassador to Nigeria arrived the premises of the Ministry and was immediately ushered into the Minister's office. This infuriated Bash who immediately started to yell that he should be given more respect than the ambassador since he is a citizen. He alleged that the security aides to the Minister then attacked him and started beating him, one of them using his rifle to hit him. He said he collapsed immediately and was rushed to the Ministry's clinic and then transferred to the National Hospital Abuja. 

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.
The incident has already been reported to the police while other security agencies have been duly notified 

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