“OUR superstar and former captain is in intense pain at this period, and we empathise with him. This is a tragedy. Losing precious possessions like medals, trophies and plaques can be heartbreaking.”
This was how the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, reacted to the shocking news of the theft of invaluable plaques, awards, medals and an Olympic Torch belonging to former Super Eagles Captain, Nwankwo Kanu, at his hotel, the Hardley Apartments, in Victoria Island, Lagos. As of Wednesday, January 16, 2019, there were as yet no clues as to who perpetrated the dastardly act, but Kanu had hinted earlier in the week of strenuous efforts by the Assets Management Company, AMCON, to confiscate his property.
Kanu had told newsmen that AMCON was already renovating the hotel in spite of a pending case at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi. Quite obviously, efforts to locate the whereabouts of Nwankwo Kanu’s lifetime achievements unparallelled by any Nigerian sportsman or woman should start with the AMCON. They must explain why they are tampering with the said property without court order.
Though no citizen deserves to be high-handed by anyone, least of all government officials, it is frightening that Nwankwo Kanu, one of the nation’s living sporting legends who served the nation with uncommon patriotism, winning many laurels at all levels for himself and country, and capping his illustrious career with a humanitarian project, the Kanu Heart Foundation, can be treated with such impunity by AMCON.
At the media briefing last Monday, Nwankwo Kanu had summarised the implications of his travails as follows: “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 home and invest. I came back to invest and see what I am facing”.
We call on the Police and higher political authorities to intervene and save the day. If Nwankwo Kanu has committed an unpardonable offence and the law is to take its rightful course, then so be it. But the idea of tampering with his property without lawful authority should be investigated and if anyone is guilty of trespassing, such persons should be sanctioned according to the law.
Above all, Nwankwo Kanu’s medals and awards should be tracked down and fully restored to him. The Labour of our heroes past should never be in vain!