Nigeria’s football international Christian Obodo has been
abducted in Warri, southern Nigeria, even as police in Delta
state say they have begun man hunt for his kidnappers.
The player’s family said Obodo, 28, who played last season in
Italy’s Serie A for Lecce, was driving alone in his car following a
visit to a relative when he was taken by unknown gunmen.
“His whereabouts are unknown but his car was left behind by
the kidnappers. We are yet to receive any call demanding a
ransom,” said a family member, under condition of anonymity.
Obodo is a midfielder who has played 21 times for Nigeria
since making his international debut in 2004. Last season, he
played on loan at Lecce from Serie A side Udinese.
This is not the first time abductors have targeted Nigerian
soccer players and their families.
The brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in
2008 and freed days later, while last year the father of Chelsea
midfielder John Mikel Obi was abducted before being freed after
a police raid.
A brief statement from Lecce on Obodo’s abduction said, “We
hope the situation can be resolved as soon as possible in the
best possible way.”
Obodo’s brother, Kenneth Obodo, who is also a professional
soccer player in Italy and is currently in Nigeria, was quoted by
Italian news agency ANSA as saying, “Christian is fine. We
are in touch with the kidnappers, who want some money.
“We can’t give them more than €100,000 (US$125,000).
Unfortunately these things happen in our country.”