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Ex-Norwich City footballer John Fashanu sent to a Nigerian jail over an alleged land deal scam

PUBLISHED: 12:51 29 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:54 30 July 2017

Former Norwich City footballer John Fashanu, who was arrested in Nigeria, pictured during a visit to his former school in Attleborough in 1993. Photo: Denise Bradley

Former Norwich City footballer John Fashanu, who was arrested in Nigeria, pictured during a visit to his former school in Attleborough in 1993. Photo: Denise Bradley

Former Norwich City footballer John Fashanu was put in to a Nigerian jail with 200 other prisoners after being arrested over an alleged land sale scam.

John Fashanu at a reunion match at Carrow Road in 2004. Picture: Archant John Fashanu at a reunion match at Carrow Road in 2004. Picture: Archant

Fashanu, 54, who played seven games for the Canaries and scored once during his time at the club in the early 1980s, was detained at his home in the capital city Abuja two weeks ago after being accused of selling land that was not on the market, according to national newspaper reports.

Police arrested Fashanu on suspicion of criminal conspiracy and he was then taken to the “hell-hole” jail where he stayed for two days before being released on bail.

Police deputy inspector General Hyacinth Dagala said: “John Fashanu was arrested on July 17 in connection with an allegation of criminal conspiracy and obtaining the sum of N9,550,000 (£23,000) under false pretence. He was granted administrative bail on July 18 but because of his inability to produce the requisite surety on that day, he remained in detention until July 19 when he was released.”

A friend of Fashanu, who wanted to remain anonymous, played down the arrest and claimed it was a misunderstanding between friends.

Justin Fashanu Justin Fashanu

He added: “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 a just a business deal.”

Fashanu is said to have agreed to repay the £23,000 before he left jail and was also ordered to hand in his British passport.

Fashanu, who also presented a range of TV shows including Gladiators, denied he committed a crime.

Fashanu and his brother Justin were sent to a Barnardo’s home after their parents split up when they were young boys and then lived with a foster family near Attleborough.

John struggled to get a regular place with City and went on loan to Crystal Palace before being transferred to Lincoln. Fashanu then had spells with Milwall, Wimbledon, with who he won the FA Cup in the famous 1988 final against Liverpool, and Aston Villa.

He also played for England.

Justin scored 40 goals for the Canaries – including his famous strike against Liverpool in 1980 – in 103 appearances between 1979 and 1981.

He became Britain’s first £1m black footballer when he transferred to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in 1981 and was the first player to come out as gay in an interview with the tabloid press in 1990.

There was a subsequent backlash in a climate of prejudice, and he became a target of crowd abuse and struggled to get a full-time contract.

He took his own life at a block of garages in Shoreditch in 1998.

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