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Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has revealed that his father, Pa Michael Obi, was abducted by unknown men, before their last Group D match at the 2018 World Cup.

World Cup 2018: John Mikel Obi calls for greater security in Nigeria following father's kidnapping

Mikel Obi opens up on how father was kidnapped before Argentina clash

Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has revealed that his father, Pa Michael Obi, was abducted by unknown men, before their last Group D match at the 2018 World Cup.

Mikel Obi bravely led out the team against Argentina, four hours after he spoke with the men who kidnapped his father.

Pa Michael was abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu road on his way to a funeral and his kidnappers demanded N10million (about £21,000).  Super Eagles captain Mikel reportedly paid a ransom of 10 million naira  for his release, and his unhurt father is now "recuperating with family".

It is the second time Mikel's father has been kidnapped, with the first taking place in August 2011 while his son played for Chelsea.

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner wants the government to do more in terms of general security.from the Tianjin TEDA midfielder to free him.
Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi said the insecurity in the country is "scary" after his father was kidnapped for the second time in seven years.

“I played while my father was in the hands of bandits,” Mikel Obi told the UK Guardian.
“I had to suppress the trauma. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what had happened.
“I was emotionally distraught and I had to make the decision about whether I was mentally ready to play. 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 could not even inform the coaches or NFF staff and only a very tight circle of my friends knew.
“I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody. I also did not want to discuss it with the coach [Gernot Rohr] because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to him or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. As much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not.

“Thankfully, my father was safely released on Monday afternoon. I thank the police authorities for their rescue efforts and the support I’ve received from friends and family members. Unfortunately, my dad is now in hospital receiving emergency treatment as a result of the torture he received during his capture.”

Mikel was told of his father's capture four hours before playing in Nigeria's 2-1 World Cup defeat by Argentina.

"For the second time I've had to live with the fears of losing my father and it is very scary," he told BBC Sport.

"Today it's my dad but tomorrow it could be someone else which makes it very scary."


Former Chelsea midfielder Mikel, who now plays for Chinese club Tianjin Teda, received a call from a family member while on the team bus to the St Petersburg Stadium, who told him he had to call the kidnappers on a designated number.

He did not confide in any of his team-mates or the Nigerian Football Federation before the match because he didn't want it to be a distraction.

"We are seeing a spate of terror attacks in some parts of the country which has already sown insecurity among citizens," he said.

"It does not matter what your status is in Nigeria, everyone deserves to feel safe and secured, as life becomes more risky than ever."

Obi's rescue was preceded by a gun battle between Nigerian police and the kidnappers, who then fled.


"Life is already tough on people, then they have to start living in fears when they are going about looking for means of survival," he said.

"I want to encourage our government to continue its relentless efforts and fights on factions that creates fear and insecurity in our country.

"My father was hurt and tortured during his ordeal and this is unacceptable. I hope that the authorities will work harder to bring this bandits to justice.

"Representing my country is my greatest honour, I love my country and very proud to be a Nigerian."

Superintendent Ebere Amaraizu, of Enugu State Police Command, 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."

It is not the first time a relative of a footballer has been abducted in Nigeria. Former Everton defender Joseph Yobo's brother was kidnapped in 2008, before being released two weeks later.

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