Enugu State Government has shed more light on the health conditions of former Rangers captain and coach Christian Chukwu, stating that the football legend is “not a destitute old man abandoned to his fate” as claimed in some quarters.
The State Government also revealed the level of financial support it has offered in the treatment of Chukwu, who has undergone surgery in Enugu.
Over the weekend, Grand Patron of ex-Rangers Players Association Benson Ejindu, stated in a GoFundMe post that Chukwu, who captained Nigeria’s Green Eagles (now Super Eagles) to their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in 1980, is in dire need of $50,000 (about N18,000,000) to enable him to travel to the United States of America for surgery and other medical needs.
In a statement signed by the State’s Commissioner for Information Ogbuagu Anikwe, the State Government informed that Chukwu, who is currently the Director of Sports in the Rangers Management Corporation, “is NOT a destitute old man abandoned to his fate in the face of an emergency health situation.”
Anikwe further informed that the Enugu State Government and Rangers management took urgent steps to remedy Chukwu’s condition when it came to their notice.
“When Chukwu’s health situation was brought to the attention of his employer – Rangers Management Corporation – he was rushed to one of the best medical facilities in Enugu where a team of five (5) specialists have been attending to him,” the release read.
“The management of Rangers Management Corporation immediately deposited N200,000 with this health facility to begin his treatment.
“On hearing about his health condition, Gov. Ugwuanyi gave an additional N1.5million to the Commissioner for Youth and Sports to give to the family — in order to ensure that the football legend did not lack anything that the team of specialists may require to manage his condition.
“The Governor has also given an additional N1million to the family when the doctors demanded for a further deposit, bringing the total amount disbursed by Gov. Ugwuanyi and the Rangers Management to the Chukwu family to N2.7million.
“The total bill submitted to date by the hospital for Chukwu’s treatment is N2.7million.”
The Enugu State Government equally expressed surprise that the US-based Ejindu could solicit for funds for Chukwu’s treatment when the doctors have not disclosed his condition.
“To date, the doctors taking care of Chukwu have NOT released a medical report of his health condition to anyone, not even to the state government that has been picking up his bills. It is therefore curious how anyone without this information could have determined that (a) Christian Chukwu needs oversea medical care, and (b) the cost of this oversea care.
“This point needs restating: the medical director of the Hospital is also as surprised as we are that someone in the USA who is not privy to a medical report on Chairman Chukwu’s condition can determine that (a) Chukwu needs a treatment abroad (b) the cost of such treatment, and (c) even without Chukwu or any member of his family asking for a second medical opinion or for treatment abroad.”
Should the 68-year-old Chukwu require medical treatment abroad, the Enugu State Government said it “will be notified and will respond appropriately”.
Chukwu, fondly called ‘the Chairman’ in his playing days for solid defensive prowess, was coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles from 2002 to 2005, guiding the team to a third-place finish at the 2004 AFCON in Tunisia.
In 1977, he captained Rangers to the African Cup Winners Cup title, in addition to several other trophies.