A former Nigeria international, Nwankwo Kanu, cut a pitiable sight in Lagos on Monday as he revealed how suspected vandals invaded his The Hardley Apartments situated along Waziri Ibrahim Crescent on Victoria Island, making away with his football medals, trophies, plaques and other valuable items.
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.
But a shocked Kanu, who was in London for the Yuletide, learnt 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.
“It was a rude shock to me,” Kanu, who fought back tears at what the hitherto sprawling facility had become since the renovation started, told TheCable.
“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.”
TheCable learnt that a man who was seen supervising the illegal renovation of the Apartments declined identifying himself nor who he was working for, although upon being pressed revealed that he was a staff of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), leading to suspicion that the assets managers may have also disregarded the court proceedings by taking over the property.
“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,” the former Super Eagles’ captain said.
“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,” Kanu further said, even as he lamented 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.”
An emotion-filled Kanu submitted: “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.”