Nigerian football star, Kanu Nwankwo has revealed how suspected vandals broke into his Hardley Apartments located along Waziri Ibrahim Crescent in Victoria Island and stole many valuable items.
According to the former Super Eagles striker, his football medals, trophies, plaques and other valuable items were carted away.
Kanu who is engulfed in a court dispute with Assets Management Company (AMCON) over his Hardley Apartment is reported to have been almost in tears as he lamented the loss of his valuables.
The hotel has been sealed up since 2015 sequel to 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, Ikoyi, Lagos. The last hearing came up in November last year after which the case was adjourned till 31 January 2019.
The theft is said to have happened while Kanu was in London as he returned from the Yuletide to learn from relatives and business associates in Nigeria last week that the Apartments, with registration number 509102, had been occupied by some authorized persons who had also commenced renovation of the facility in disregard of the seal order and litigation, forcing him to arrive in Nigeria over the weekend to verify the claims.
Speaking to journalists, he is 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 happened to me when the matter is 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. 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”.
The football legend went on to lament how the four-year seal of the facility had adversely affected treatment for numerous patients that his Kanu Heart Foundation planned to rescue from their ailment.
“We have used proceeds from the hotel business to effect treatment for the patients over the years and now we are being forced to seek funds elsewhere, a situation that has stalled the treatment considerably especially since 2016. During my service to this country in football up to year 2000, I made many Nigerians happy. I don’t think I deserve this sadness in retirement.”
It is quit unfortunate that a legendary star, who gave his best to the country would be treated like this.
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.”
Kanu then had some harsh words for the government citing when in his active days, he was advised to come back to invest in Nigeria but with the way he is treated young footballers may be discouraged from doing so.
“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.”
“Right now I need my medals because they are what I will show my children that I served the country with all my heart when they grow up.”
“They broke into my hotel without permission from the court. This is injustice to me for a country I gave my best”.