Michael Obi has not been seen since Friday evening but no ransom has yet been received, and the 24-year-old was informed prior to the Blues' game against Stoke on SundayThe father of Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been kidnapped in Nigeria, the player’s representatives have confirmed.
Michael Obi, who runs an interstate transport company in the city of Jos, has been missing since Friday when he failed to return home from work, and all of the subsequent attempts to reach him on his mobile phone have gone unanswered.
A statement by Mikel’s representatives, the Sports Entertainment and Media Group (SEM), reads: “SEM confirms that client John Obi Mikel’s father was abducted in Nigeria on Friday 10th August. Thus far no ransom has been received.
“Mikel was informed by his manager prior to the Stoke v Chelsea match and decided to play so as not to let down his team and family."
News of Mr Obi’s disappearance initially broke when the player’s agent, John Ola Shittu, spoke to KickOffNigeria.com, although at that stage it was not yet known whether he had been abducted or was simply missing.
“At the moment we have not heard from Mikel's father, or anyone else, so we don't know what it is. At this point, we only consider him missing,” Shittu told the website.
“He is totally devastated. We were not sure whether to tell him before the game. But after speaking to the manager, and Mike Emenalo [Chelsea's sporting director], we agreed that he had a right to be informed of such a serious incident.
“He was under a lot of stress, but he showed a lot of character and mental strength to play against Stoke.”
This is the second time a family member of a major Nigerian footballer has been targeted by kidnappers, after national team captain Joseph Yobo’s younger brother Norum was held hostage for 12 days in 2008.