Nigeria: A history of football-related abductions

Nigeria: A history of football-related abductions
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Abducted former general secretary of the Nigeria Football Association, Sani Ahmed Toro has regained his freedom along with two others.

The other two are: former Nigeria under-23 assistant coach Garba Ila and Isa Jah. Circumstances regarding their release are still unclear. But it was gathered that the abductors who initially demanded for N150 million reduced the ransom. It is not clear if anything was paid.

But according to BBC, Toro’s son said his father was on his way home after the ordeal. A police spokesperson has confirmed the release of the hostages but did not give further details.

Kidnappings – more often of politicians, the rich and famous – are a regular occurrence in Nigeria but footballers, officials and their families have also been targeted in the West African country.

  • In 2020,  former Nigeria midfielder Christian Obodo was left traumatised after he was kidnapped in the country’s oil-rich Delta state for the second time in eight years.

  • In January 2019, the abducted coach of Nigerian Premier League club Katsina United, Abdullahi Biffo, was released three weeks after an undisclosed ransom was paid

  • During the World Cup in 2018, former Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi’s father was kidnapped for the second time in seven years, before being released after a ransom of 10 million naira (about $27,500) was paid.

  • Back in 2007, France-based defender Onyekachi Apam was kidnapped by armed men who took his car before releasing him.

  • In 2008,  the elder brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in oil-rich Port Harcourt before being freed 10 days later.

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