For the first time, former Golden Eaglets captain and Super Eagles midfielder, Wilson Oghenekevwe Oruma, has opened up on his travail in the hands of fraudsters, who duped him about N2 billion in his bid to establish himself after retiring from active football.
Oruma led the Eaglets to capture the FIFA U-17 World Cup at Japan ’93. He went on to help the U-23 team to win gold medal at Atlanta ’96 Olympics. In his attempt to establish a business empire for himself after his retirement from active football, Oruma ‘walked’ into the hands of some fraudsters, who claimed to be in possession of some oil blocks they wanted to sell.
The two times African Nations Cup bronze medallist pumped his investments across Europe, also withdrew his life savings for the ‘oil business,’ not suspecting any foul play. Things soon turned out to be a fraud, and since then, Oruma had not been himself. The once celebrated Eagles star lost his mind for about two years. At a point, there were media reports that the Delta State indigene was battling with insanity.
In his bid to bring Oruma back from his misfortune, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, included him as part of the Nigerian contingent to the on-going FIFA World Cup in Russia, to enable him mix up with people from different parts of the World, particularly his former colleagues in foreign clubs. The idea paid off, as Oruma says he is grateful to the NFF boss and his board members. He also thanked Nigerians for their prayers and support during the time of his difficulties.
However, Oruma has sent words to those behind his travail to consider his condition and return his money. “This is my first time of speaking with any journalist on this,” Oruma told The Guardian at his Park INN Hotel in St. Petersburg shortly before he departed for Nigeria. It is true that I lost all my savings to some people, who turned out to be fraudsters. I have read several stories in the media since then. Those stories did not emanate from me. They quoted different amount, which is not correct. I lost close to N2 billion.
“The most painful aspect of it all was the fact that some of my relations were involved in the deal. You can imagine losing such huge amount of money to people you trusted. I pray for them to have a human heart and return my money, even if it is part of it. That is my prayer every day, and I know that one day, the hand of God will torch their hearts,” he stated.