Former Super Eagles Captain and football legend, Nwankwo Kanu is distraught over how suspected vandals carted away his football medals, along with trophies, plaques and other valuables from Hardley Apartments in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Papilo as he is widely called is downcast at the renewed attempt to forcefully take away one of his most-valuable investments.
The four star hotel 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, Ikoyi, Lagos.
“It was a rude shock to me,” noted Kanu, who was close to tears after verify the claims on his return.
“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,” Kanu added.
In the same vein, the Nigeria Football Federation on Tuesday expressed concern over the burgling of the property.
In a statement issued, the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick insisted the thieves should at least have considered the charitable works of the former Nigeria captain, in helping young Nigerians with heart defects to overcome their medical conditions, before carrying out their dastardly act.
“Our superstar and former captain is in intense pain at this period, and we empathise with him. This ia tragedy. Losing precious possessions like medals, trophies and plaques can be heartbreaking.
“We respectfully call on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to work hard at unravelling the perpetrators of these nefarious act. Kanu worked very hard from a humble beginning to accumulate whatever he has today and to earn those precious valaubles,” Pinnick, said in Lagos.
“Kanu brought immense joy and celebration to many homes across Nigeria, Africa and the world, while playing for the Nigeria U17 team that won the FIFA World Cup, the U23 team that he captained to Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996 and the Super Eagles for which he featured at three FIFA World Cup finals.
“He also served several top Clubs in world football, giving them and their fans nothing but immeasurable joy. He has also been spending heavily, through his Kanu Heart Foundation, in getting medical attention for young Africans with heart defects to be cured and live normal lives.
“He does not deserve this cruel fate. Our confidence in the Nigeria Police and indeed other security agencies to hunt down these criminals is unshaken. We stand with Kanu at this low moment and we believe he will overcome and put the sad incident behind him soonest.”
Nwankwo Kanu won the FIFA U17 World Cup with Nigeria in 1993, narrowly missed the Super Eagles’ cut for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA but then featured at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups for Nigeria. He also played for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations between 2000 – 2010, winning one silver and four bronze medals.
He captained Nigeria’s U23 team to win Africa’s first –ever Olympic football gold, in USA in 1996, after which he survived heart surgery. He then played for Inter Milan FC of Italy, Arsenal FC, Portsmouth FC and West Bromwich Albion FC (all in England), winning trophies with the teams.
In 1995, alongside compatriot Finidi George, Nwankwo Kanu won the European Champions League (forerunner of the Champions League) with Ajax Amsterdam FC of Holland.