One of Nigeria’s most celebrated boxers, Obisia Nwankpa has accused the Nigerian Army, which he represented as an athlete, of frustrating his life by allegedly refusing to pay his pension over the past 15 years.
Nwankpa was one of the world’s most popular boxers in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of his former employers, Nwankpa told The Guardian at the weekend: “I am a product of the Nigerian Army (63, NA359769 SSG), and I won so many medals for them as a boxer.
I am not happy right now because the Army stopped paying my pension since 2002 and I am suffering.”
Nwankpa was Nigerian Army boxing champion in 1969 before he flew the nation’s flag at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.
He was a gold medallist at the 1973 All Africa Games in Lagos, and also did the Nigerian Army proud by winning gold at the African Team versus Latin American Boxing Championship in 1974.
He also picked a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games Team versus USA.
Till date, Nwankpa remains one of the most decorated athletes for the Nigerian Army, as he won gold at the CISM World Military Boxing Championship in Accra, Ghana in 1974, a performance he repeated in 1975 at the CISM World Boxing Championship in Thailand, Bangkok.
He rose to become the WBC number one contender between 1980 and 1981.
The former African champion added: “When I was compulsorily retired in 1984, my gratuity was paid, and soon, they started paying my pension.
But I had a problem with my wife in USA, and I had to travel to America to sort things out, and so, I missed a verification exercise in 2002.
Since then, they refused to pay my pension.
“There is no office I have not visited in order to have my pension paid, but no success.
In one of my trips to Abuja, I was involved in a motor accident, which nearly took my life.
The Army is owing me over N6 million in pension since then.”
He said he had refused to go public with his travails but decided to raise the alarm due to a recent twist in the saga.
“Some months ago, they paid me N400,000, but when I asked for the 15 years backlog, they ignored me.
“This development frightened me and I decided to raise the alarm.
My fear is that something strange is happening to my money, and I want the army authorities to intervene and ensure I get my money.”