False allegation: Sports Minister demands immediate retraction, apology from Bash Ali, vows legal action if…


The Minister of Sports development, Senator John Owan Enoh, on Sunday demanded an immediate retraction and apology from Bash Alli after the former World Boxing Champion falsely claimed that $1m was demanded from him to endorse oldest boxers fight in Nigeria.

Senator Enoh who spoke while briefing the sporting media inside Moshood Abiola stadium in Abuja, wondered why Bash Alli will continue to blackmail top government officials in a bid to cheap public sympathy and make headlines.

Following his non-existence allegations, the Sports Minister gave the former world boxing champion seven days to retract and apologise or face legal consequences.

Giving straight clarification on Bash Alli’s allegation, the Minster categorically said, “Bash Alli’s allegation that I demanded for “another 1 million dollars” as if I had received a first tranche of one million dollars from him, or perhaps any of my predecessors had done so, is a manufactured lie from the pit of hell.

“At no point in time did I demand for any form of gratification from Bash Alli. The questions to ask are these:  One million dollars from where?  If Bash Alli had one million dollars, why has he not staged his fight? His spurious allegation suffers from fatal deformity and is based on the erroneous impression that government in Nigeria is a cash cow at the mercy of public servants to pillage at will.”

Senator also clarified that he has only met Bash Alli once ever shortly after he assumed office as the Sports Minister and that “Let me be clear. Bash Alli desperately wanted to meet me in my very early days as Minister of Sports Development when I had hardly settled down on the job. In the deluge of his desperate attempts, I decided to meet him against the advice of the staff of the Ministry who were familiar with his character and antics. 

“Against their advice, I decided to meet him out of respect for his age and based on the open door policy with which I am currently leading the Ministry. Conscious of the advice of some key staff of the Ministry, I sought to insulate myself and the office from any blackmail that may emanate from this meeting by making sure that my team was present at the meeting. He presented the issue of his pet project, and I told him to be patient while i get more briefing from the Ministry. 

“All my life, the said meeting is the first and only time I ever met Bash Alli. There were no follow-ups after that one-off meeting, and I did not introduce any of my aides to him. After the said meeting, I politely refused to meet with him to this day in spite of his numerous requests and pressures.His incessant  messages to me will speak to his desperation.”

Going down memory lane, the Sports Minister recalled, “as you know, Bash Alli’s plan to stage his boxing fight in Nigeria has a long history spanning almost two decades. To achieve this personal aspiration, he has deployed all manner of strategies including naked blackmail and under hand tactics in his desperate effort to arm twist the Federal Government to spend upwards of $50m USD to stage his fight. Successive Ministers of Sports have rightly told him that his plan to stage this fight is not the responsibility of the government but a business that should be executed by the private sector.

“Before I was appointed to the office of Minister of Sports Development, Bash Alli had sought to mindlessly impugn the character and reputation of some of my predecessors in office, without any shred of evidence. In my own case, he has exhumed and redeployed this hydra headed monster and gone overboard because past Ministers perhaps treated him and his wild allegations with kid gloves. To simply walk away from this baloney, for me, is not an option.”