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Mikel family receive ransom demand

The family of Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi have reportedly received a ransom demand for the release of the player’s father.

John Mikel Obi in action for Chelsea.
John Mikel Obi in action for Chelsea.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE KIDNAPPERS RESPONSIBLE for the abduction of Michael Obi, the father of the Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi, have apparently made contact with the midfielder’s family and issued a “sizeable” ransom demand for the businessman’s safe return.

Nigerian police suggested a figure of 20m Naira (approximately £80,000) had been demanded, but that figure was later dismissed by the player’s management.

According to BBC Sport, the family were contacted twice on Tuesday and informed that Michael had been moved from the town of Jos, where he runs a transport company, to Lagos. Further contact on Wednesday yielded a ransom demand.

A statement from the player’s management company, SEM, confirmed this latest development:

“We confirm that Michael Obi has been abducted and that the kidnappers have been in touch with the family and representatives of the family and that discussions for Michael’s safe release have begun.”

Abduction of this kind isn’t unprecedented in Nigeria; the families of wealthy or prominent members of society often find themselves the targets of extortion.

The brother of another Premier League footballer, Everton’s Joseph Yobo, was kidnapped and subsequently released in 2008.

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