On June 26th Nigeria lost to Argentina 2-1, bouncing them from the World Cup. Four hours before that game, Nigerian Captain John Obi Mikel received a call telling him his father had been kidnapped. Pa Michael Obi was held for a ransom of N10 Million ($28,000 USD). His rescue was announced on the Enugu State Police Command official twitter account on July 2nd.
Only after his father’s release, did Obi Mikel speak out about this publicly. That means for 6 excruciating days, John Obi Mikel kept this to himself. He didn’t tell his coach, his teammates, the Nigerian Football Federation, or even the authorities.
Obi Mikel was told his father would be shot “instantly” if he told anyone
Obi Mikel told KweseESPN, “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. 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.”
Despite playing hard, and representing his team and country admirably (more so given the circumstances), Nigeria lost the game 2-1 and was eliminated from the World Cup.
Rescued by the Police after a ‘gun duel’
After being kidnapped on his way to a funeral, Pa Obi was held for a week by the kidnappers. During that time he was tortured, and after his rescue was briefly hospitalized needing multiple stitches.
The Superintendent of Police Ebere Amaraizu said, “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.”
Once his father was safe, John Obi Mikel gave his first public statement on the ordeal via his official twitter account.
In 2011 Obi Mikel’s father was kidnapped as well, being held that time for 10 days.
This is an ongoing story, and we will update this article with any new updates.
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