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Apologise or face legal action, Enoh warns Bash Alli

Sports Minister, John Enoh, has told former World Boxing Champion, Bash Alli, to make a public apology within a week for making false claims against his person or face legal action.

Enoh’s statement came in the wake of allegations by Alli in an open letter to President Bola Tinubu that the minister demanded $1m from him in order to endorse his plan to stage what he calls the oldest boxers’ fight in Nigeria.

The video, which went viral after chess master, Tunde Onakoya, recently broke the Guinness World Record for chess marathon, has the 68-year-old boxer said he could have equally put the name of the country on the world map but for certain individuals thwarting his efforts.

In response to the claim, Enoh in a statement titled ‘Bash Alli and his serial blackmail must be confronted and defeated,” warmed the boxer to tender an apology or face legal action.

He said, “I am constrained to speak to the trending video and open petition to the President wherein Bash Alli, a former World Boxing Champion, threw caution and decency to the wind to allege that I demanded the sum of ‘another ‘ $1m from him in order to endorse his plan to stage what he calls the oldest boxers fight in Nigeria.

“When Bash Alli released his video and open letter to the President, with the sole aim to defame and destroy my reputation and integrity, some friends and associates advised that I totally ignore him and his blackmail gambit. They believe that I will validate and bring him to the limelight by responding to Bash Alli and his vile campaign of calumny.

“After a deep reflection, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that to ignore him will be a profound mistake. My reason for this is twofold. First, the perception in the public domain is that those in the public service are either thieves or kleptomaniacs who mindlessly pillage our Commonwealth. This assumption, no matter how widely held, is not true.“Despite our challenges as a nation, there are men and women who continue to serve our country with honesty, integrity, and patriotism. I am one of such.”

The minister added that ignoring Alli will further embolden and enable him to continue in his usual trajectory without consequences.

He said, “Bash Alli’s allegation that I demanded ‘another $1m’ as if I had received a first tranche of $1m 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 any form of gratification from Bash Alli.”

The minister added that Alli was desperate to meet him upon his resumption in office but he was cautioned by his staff.

He said, “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 ministry staff, 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.

“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 underhand tactics in his desperate effort to arm-twist the Federal Government to spend upwards of $50m 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 the private sector should execute.

“In concluding this statement, I sincerely believe that, in spite of our numerous challenges, our country still has a soul. Our humanity will be irretrievably destroyed the day we lose our soul. Bash Alli’s desperate and unprovoked withering attack on me is an attack on decency, honesty, and integrity. The move to clear my name has just started, and there will be no let up until I achieve this sacred mission.


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