Enyimba midfielder Ekundayo Ojo and Abia Comets’ Benjamin Iluyomade, who were kidnapped on Sunday afternoon along the Benin -Owo Road have regained their freedom.
Media Officer of Enyimba, Zazi Bariza Samuel, confirmed last night the news of the release from kidnappers’ den the two former Sunshine Stars of Akure Players.
“The footballers were released on Wednesday night following combined efforts of Enyimba Football Club and families of the players.
“The players have since reunited with their families,” observed the statement from the Enyimba spokesman without giving details of how much was paid as ransom.
The two footballers were on their way to Akure from Aba following the suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League amid concerns over the global pandemic, Covid-19 before they were seized by the gun men at the Ipele section of the road. The third player in the car escaped from the kidnappers.
The kidnappers were initially reported to have demanded for N100million but changed their minds to N20million on discovering that the duo were footballers from the domestic NPFL.
Both Enyimba and the families of the two players pleaded with Nigerians not to jeopardize their negotiations to get them released with sensational social media posts.
The news of the kidnapping of the two players came just few hours after the death in a car crash of two footballers from Rangers International- Emmanuel Ogbu and Ifeanyi George, who was also a Super Eagles ‘B’ team player.
This is the first kidnapping case in the Nigerian league since former coach of Katsina United, Abdullahi Biffo, was captured and released in January 2019.
Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu’s was the latest Super Eagles player caught up in a case, when his mother was released six days after being kidnapped in March 2019.
Former National team coach Samson Siasia also had his mother held in captivity for ten weeksbefore she was released. She had previously been kidnapped from her home in Bayelsa State.