Sports minister speaks on bribery allegation by Bash Alli

Sports minister speaks on bribery allegation by Bash Alli

Sports development minister, John Owan Enoh, has addressed recent accusations of blackmail made against him by former boxing champion Bash Alli.

Alli, in a trending video and open petition to the president, claimed that Senator Owan-Enoh demanded a $1 million bribe to endorse his plan to stage a boxing event in Nigeria.

Owan-Enoh, in a statement, said the claims were “a tradition of deploying blackmail and gutter tactics” by Alli.

He explained that he met with Alli once “out of respect for his age,” despite staff warnings about Alli’s “character and antics.”

The minister claims that the meeting focused on Alli’s boxing event proposal and that no further contact occurred.

“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.”

Owan-Enoh stated that, during the meeting, Alli presented the issue of his “pet project,” and he told him to be patient while he got more briefings 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.”

Owan-Enoh also alleged that before he was appointed to office, Alli had sought to mindlessly impugn the character and reputation of some of his predecessors in office, without any shred of evidence.

He noted that in his own case, Alli has exhumed and redeployed this hydra headed monster and gone overboard because of the past, noting that “Ministers perhaps treated him and his wild allegations with kid gloves. To simply walk away from this baloney, for me, is not an option.”

He claims Alli has used “naked blackmail” and “underhand tactics” in his desperate effort to arm twist the Federal Government to spend upwards of $50 million USD to stage his fight.

The Minister challenged Alli’s claims, questioning the source of the alleged bribe money and why, if Alli had such funds, he wouldn’t use them to stage the fight himself.

“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.”

Successive Ministers of Sports, according to the minister, have 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.

Owan-Enoh, however, noted that Alli’s desperate and unprovoked withering attack on him is an attack on decency, honesty, and integrity.

He also stated that his address on the issue is a move to clear his name, and he has directed his lawyer to write Bash Alli, demanding an immediate public retraction of his allegations and a public apology.

“He will have just one week to do this; the failure to do this on his part will leave me with no option than to approach the courts to both clear my name and seek damages.”

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