Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel revealed that his father was being held for ransom ahead of Nigeria’s match against Argentina last Tuesday, but did not tell anyone because the kidnappers threatened to shoot “instantly” if authorities were informed, according to ESPN FC.
Mikel says that that kidnappers contracted him hours before kickoff and demanded N10 Million ($28,000 US) for the safe return of his father, Pa Michael Obi.
Pa Michael Obi was on his way to a funeral in south eastern Nigeria from Jos when he was abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway back on June 26th.
“I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down,” Mikel said.
“I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.
“And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it.”
Superintendent of Police Ebere Amaraizu said in a statement on Tuesday that,”The abductors started calling to demand a ransom of N10 million before police operatives acted on intelligence information and swooped on them.
“In the process of the rescue, a gun duel ensued between police operatives and the kidnappers which forced the hoodlums to abandon their victims inside the forest and they were promptly rescued.”