By Uche Amunike
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has called on the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies to be wary of the threats made by former World Boxing Champion, Bashiru Ali, popularly known as bash Ali.
The world champion has released a video where he accused the Minister of extorting millions of naira from him as part of the process to organize a world boxing title fight for his sake.
Bash Ali, who is presently 63 years old, had proposed a Guinness World Record boxing fight, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control, NBBC.
Dare, in a release signed by his Special Assistant on Multimedia, Toyin Ibitoye, however claimed that the world champion’s claims were unsubstantiated, false and defamatory, demanding that the security agencies should offer him and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development protection from what he described as the ‘violence’ threatened by Bash Ali.
Part of the statement read: ‘This recent video is irrespective and in disregard of a pending libel suit initiated by the Minister claiming damages to the sum of N5 billion against Bash Ali for defamatory allegations made in the past’.
‘Apart from aggravating the previous defamatory acts, in the present video, Bash Ali has threatened violence and disruptive acts against a functional unit of the Federal Government of Nigeria’.
Ibitoye maintained that the Minister is a responsible public office holder and will not sit back and allow the threats made by Bash Ali to materialize.
He explained that if Bash Ali could have the temerity to make and publicize a video where he made allegations against the Honorable Minister and didn’t stop at that, but also threatened to put a stop to the operations of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, then it was expedient that the security agencies are alerted so as to avoid a future situation of regrets where things are taken for granted.
The Minister admitted that he will diligently press libel claims against the heavyweight champion and also seek further remedies that the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria avails him.
As it stands, the Minister has confirmed that he has already informed Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Bode Olanipekun of Wale Olanikpekun & Co Law Firm to continue with the prosecution of the case.
He noted that he was prompted to release the press statement because he felt it was necessary to inform discerning members of the public so that they would disregard the antics of the heavyweight champion which is actually in continuation of a pattern from him against two former Ministers of Youth and Sports Development and the current one.
It is also to alert Media outlets about the risks and consequences of disseminating such false and malicious stories.
Bash Ali is a former World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight Champion. His regional and minor titles won include the following: USBA Cruiserweight Title in 1980, NABF Cruiserweight Title in 1985, Nigerian Heavyweight Title in 1998, WNC International Cruiserweight Title in 1990 and African Heavyweight Title in 1993.