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Mikel Confesses To Paying ‘Crazy Money’ To Rescue Kidnapped Father

John Obi Mikel, the former captain of the Super Eagles, has opened up about the sad experience of his father’s abduction in 2018.

Mikel revealed that he had to pay a “crazy amount of money” to secure his father’s release from the kidnappers in an interview with Dubai Eye 103.8 Sport.

The incident occurred just hours before the Super Eagles were set to face Argentina in a crucial World Cup match in Russia. Mikel had received the news that his father, Pa Michael Obi, had been kidnapped along with his driver, Ishaya John, while traveling on the Markurdi – Enugu road.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Mikel put his personal concerns aside and led the Super Eagles to a commendable performance on the pitch.

During the interview, Mikel recounted the moment he received the distressing news on the team bus to the stadium in St Petersburg. He explained that a family member had contacted him and instructed him to call the kidnappers on a specific number. The former Chelsea player was then told to pay a ransom to secure his father’s release.


He said: “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,” he said.

“They [the kidnappers] said listen, we know, it is Mikel he would pay. If he doesn’t, we are going to shoot his dad. They said they had nothing to lose. They would shoot my dad and dump him somewhere,” Mikel Obi said.


“It was horrible. After the game, I got back on the phone, tried to negotiate with them and spoke with them. They were calling some ridiculous amount of money for a start, and in the end, I still had to pay some crazy amount of money to get my dad out.

“Even now, I still go through it. Even when I got a flashback, I had to speak to the guys on the phone. There was a gunpoint at his head. They said they would shoot him, kill him. I have not told my kids about it, but a few months ago, they looked at my phone and saw the news about it. Obviously, I have not told them about it because they are young kids, 7 years, but one day when they grow up, I will be able to share the story with them,” he said.

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