Former England football player John Fashanu was arrested and locked up in an Abuja prison over a land scandal, according to United Kingdom publication, The Mirror.
According to the report, the 54-year-old was arrested from his home in Sun City Estate in Abuja for his alleged involvement in a multi-million-naira land selling scam.
The former football star was said to have received £23,000 from a friend interested in buying land, but it turned out that the piece of land in question was not for sale.
This, the report said, was discovered when the new “owner” went to claim his land, only to discover it wasn’t for sale or in the hands of local chiefs as he was allegedly led to believe.
Subsequently, he made a complaint and the police intervened.
After Fashanu’s arrest on July 17, The Mirror said he got locked up in a prison cell with 200 prisoners and that he regained his freedom two days later after promising to pay back the money received.
The newspaper also reported that the former footballer had to surrender his British passport as part of the conditions for his release.
“This is a business deal between friends that has gone south and the police were asked to basically mediate. It will all be sorted very quickly. It was just a business deal,” a friend of the ex-Gladiator star told the newspaper.
Nigeria’s Deputy Inspector General of Police, Hyacinth Dagala, was quoted as saying that Fashanu was arrested “in connection with an allegation of criminal conspiracy” and obtaining 9.5 million naira under false pretences.
The DIG further explained that the ex-footballer was granted administrative bail on July 18, one day after his arrest, but because of inability to produce the required surety, he was detained until July 19.
According to The Mirror, Fashanu’s lawyer, Hyp Egbune, confirmed that he paid a second instalment of the money owed this week.
“The person who made the complaint has been a mutual friend for quite a number of years and we are more interested in keeping that relationship so we are making amends,” Egbune was quoted as saying.
“We hope to do that as soon as we can. It is quite a lot of money so we hope to do it as soon as we can. We want to have this resolved.”