World Boxing Federation (WBF) Cruiserweight champions, Bash Ali, has berated the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung for trying to sabotage his effort to become the oldest world boxing champion.
Ali, in an exclusive interview with SunSports, said the Minister’s sudden change of mind towards his Guinness World Record fight was surprising after haven showed support and enthusiasm to have the fight in Nigeria.
According to Bash Ali, the Federal Government through the Sports Ministry and National Sports Commission had shown strong commitment to have the fight in Nigeria with the setting up of Local Organising Committees in 2006 and 2014 only for Barrister Dalung to change his mind with a directive that he (Bash Ali) should go through the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C) which is represented in the earlier LOCs.
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“As soon as Dalung was appointed, problem started. First it took them about nine months to find my file but the former deputy governor of Plateau State settled the quarrel and Dalung wrote a security guarantee to the International Boxing Union to confirm FG’s commitment to the fight and assured that the organisers are sourcing for the funds in a domiciliary account at the Central Bank of Nigeria to facilitate the payment of the IBU’s Sanctioning fee of USD $1 million. He also gave assurance that the Ministry will follow up to ensure timely payment,” he said.
Ali disclosed that the Minister caused a consultants to be appointed for the fight, a development he initially kicked against but had to sign an agreement to work with them after much pressure.
“I was therefore surprised when the consultants started demanding for 50 percent of the money domiciled with the CBN. I told them that the Americans had already agreed 30 percent of the proceed to the FG. Since then the fight has stalled,” he said.
The boxer lamented that the same minister who had assured the IBU of security changed his mind via another letter signed on his behalf by the Director Legal Services to IBU on 21st February 2018 that the ministry has no power to grant security clearance to the delegation and directed the boxing body to liaise with the NBB of C.
Effort to get the Sports Minster’s reaction proved abortive as his phone line was switched off but his media aide, Nneka Anibeze insisted that FG was not in any way connected with the proposed fight.
She denied knowledge of any money domiciled with the CBN just as she laughed off Ali’s claim that NEXIM Bank had deposited any money towards the fight.
“If the FG is going to release any money it will be through the Ministry and as at this time, the government has not release any money for the fight nor is the FG involved in any way. The same NEXIM is claiming got him arrested, so how come they have deposited any money with the CBN,” she stated