Former world boxing cruiser-weight champion Bash Ali has accused policemen attached to the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, of brutalising him for demanding an appointment with the minister.
According to him, the security operatives hit his head with the rifle and also kicked him in the ribs causing him to lose consciousness, The Punch reports.
He added that three members of his team witnessed the assault.
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It was gathered that the 60-year-old was attended to by medical personnel at the Federal Staff Clinic and subsequently transferred to the trauma unit of Accident and Emergency department of the National Hospital, Abuja on Monday, February 13, following the incident at the minister’s office.
Speaking in an interview with Northern City News and cited on The Punch, Ali said that he still felt pains in his ribs and on his skull where he was assaulted by Dalung’s police orderlies.
He vowed to take legal action against the minister and the policemen.
According to him, 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 and waited almost three hours. Later they now 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 his rifle and my back and I just collapsed, another hit my waist.
“They dragged me from the entrance to the minister’s office and put me outside. It was there they now called the doctor to come and attend to me. I was first taken to the ministry’s clinic and from there, I was brought to the accident and emergency ward at the National Hospital here.”
Ali also accused Dalung 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.
He said: “It is obvious the minister was trying to cut a deal for himself, otherwise, he would not have arranged a private meeting with the bank without the principal actor.”
But in a swift response, the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Sports, Tolu Makinde, said Ali was stopped from molesting the ambassador and alleged that the boxer blocked him from entering the minister’s office.
He said: “Bash Ali physically obstructed them and said they would not enter the minister’s office and all entreaties to him to give way failed, so the security had to politely take him away to allow the ambassador to enter; he just enacted a melodrama and feigned slumping. We had no alternative but to ask the medical personnel at the Federal Staff Clinic to conduct routine checks on him.
“They checked his blood pressure, pulse, and it was okay. He said he would not stand up, so they took him to their clinic for observation and rest. That was what happened. 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, two or three security officers simply removed him.”
Bashi Alli, who holds cruiser-weight title of World Boxing Federation (WBF) will face Rick Camlin, the champion of International Boxing Union (IBU) at a yet to be fixed date in Nigeria.
The Nigerian boxing legend had equally being manhandled by policemen after attempting to see the former minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi in Abuja on Thursday June 6, 2013.