'Sizeable' ransom demand for John Obi Mikel's father

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A "sizeable" ransom has been demanded by the kidnappers of John Obi Mikel's father, the Chelsea midfielder's representatives confirmed today.

Mikel is not the first footballer whose family has been targeted. Click here or click the image to launch our guide to the players who had family members abducted.

But the Sport Entertainment and Media Group denied reports £80,000 was being sought for the release of Michael Obi, who was abducted in his native Nigeria last week.

SEM also confirmed Mikel had made himself available to for Chelsea's Barclays Premier League game with West Brom on Saturday, having also played in last weekend's season opener at Stoke after learning of his father's kidnapping.

SEM said in a statement today: "SEM advises that reports from Nigeria of an £80,000 ransom demand for the return of John Obi Mikel's father is not true.

"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.

"A sizeable demand has been made but, for security reasons, we are unable to release details of the amount.

"Mikel would like to thank his family, friends, Chelsea FC and his agents for their support and, at this time, it is Mikel's intention to play for Chelsea this weekend, encouraged by his family to do so."

News that Mikel's father, who runs a transport company, had been kidknapped emerged on Friday after he failed to return home from work in Jos, the capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria.

Mikel appealed for information on his whereabouts on Monday and the family were then contacted by the kidnappers.

Mikel's brother Ebele Obi said in quotes reported on www.supersport.com: "Some people called my mum informing her that they have her husband in custody.

"My mum, while crying, pleaded with the abductors to release her husband."

Tony Obi, eldest son of Michael Obi, confirmed their father's car had also been retrieved.

"We got two calls from the abductors who confirmed that our father is in their custody," he said.

"They told me where to locate my dad's car, which has been found."

In a direct appeal to the kidnappers, Mikel said on Monday: "Please just let him go.

"He's just an old man, he hasn't done any harm to anyone as far as I know and I don't know why he has been taken."

Mikel, 24, is not the first Premier League player to have a family member abducted in Nigeria.

In July 2008, the elder brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in Port Harcourt.

Nornu Yobo was released after 10 days but it was never made clear whether a ransom was paid.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower