Former Nigeria national football team captain and legend, Nwankwo Kanu, is devastated after being robbed of his football medals, trophies, plaques and other valuable items.
Shina Philips a close friend and associate to Kanu told Nigerian newspaper Premium Times that the former African Footballer of the Year had to cut short his trip to London after hearing that some ‘unknown’ persons were carrying out illegal renovations in his hotel, contrary to the order from the court that both parties should stay off the property.
“For someone that has served and still serving this country meritoriously, he does not deserve this kind of treatment,” Philips said.
It is reported that The Hardley Apartments, a four star hotel in Lagos has been a subject of litigation from some years, over an alleged default in transaction between it and Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank), leading to series of litigation that is still pending at the federal high court.
The last hearing on the matter came up in November 2018 after which the case was adjourned till January 31.
“He was in tears as we drove away from the hotel,” Philips said. “Kanu even struggled to recognise his property. It was disheartening to see all that he worked for going down the drain in his very own eyes.
Kanu himself was quoted as saying: “It was a rude shock to me. I almost couldn’t recognise the hotel as belonging to me anymore. This is the saddest day of my life as I cannot understand why this happen to me when the matter has yet to be settled in court.
“All the medals I have earned, in addition to the Olympic torch that I cherished are all gone, and I don’t even know who to ask for all these prized assets.”
It is being reported that staff of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) are supervising the renovation, which falls foul of the existing court orders.
“This is unacceptable in all ramifications. I have not been served any notice that I have lost this property and until I am served the notice, it remains my legal property.
“Even cars and buses belonging to the hotel can no longer be found and I wonder where they could have been moved to without my knowledge
“This hotel serves many purposes. I have been using the money I get here to fund my heart foundation and also create jobs for people. Over 500 children are on the line for surgery and 200 are on the waiting list.
“Since the hotel has not been functioning, I find it difficult to get funds to assist these children. I have to go the extra mile to beg for funds. This is not fair.
“The government always tells former footballers not to invest overseas after retirement. They tell us to come back home and invest. I came back to invest and see what I am facing.
“Is this a good experience for other upcoming footballers? Everybody knows I made my money from football. I deserve to be treated well in my country,” the former Super Eagles’ captain was quoted as saying.
Among many other highs, Kanu led Nigeria to winning the historic gold medal in the football event of the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.
During his time in the Premier League with Arsenal, Kanu won the Premier League, the FA Cup twice and the Community Shield. Besides, he won the Champions League with Ajax and the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan.