Three victims, including Ahmed Sani Toro, the former secretary-general of Nigeria’s football association, have been released by armed kidnappers in Nigeria.
After the incident, Toro’s son notified reporters that his father is on his way home. The release of the hostages was confirmed by a police official, but no additional information was provided.
The abductors reportedly dropped their ransom demand for the trio’s release on Monday night, according to reports. It is unknown whether they were released after a ransom was paid.
Between 1993 to 1999, Toro worked for the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.
Gunmen kidnapped Toro, former Nigeria under-23 assistant coach Garba Ila, and Isa Jah as they drove from Abuja to Bauchi after attending the wedding of former NFF president Aminu Maigari’s son.
Soon after the abduction a source close to the family told newsmen: “They’ve been speaking to one of Toro’s children and making some ridiculous ransom demand which might be very difficult for them to get.
“It’s very sad because Garba Ila had been hospitalised recently and is not in good shape.
“These guys don’t have money but are being held at gunpoint by this heartless people. It’s very sad.”
The guys were purportedly kidnapped in Nigeria’s north central region, however there were different accounts as to where the kidnapping took place.
Toro was a former commissioner for sports in Bauchi, Nigeria’s northeast Nigeria, and a member of the state’s House of Representatives.
When the Super Eagles won their second African Cup of Nations championship and qualified for their first World Cup finals in 1994, he was the secretary-general of the Nigeria Football Association.
Toro played a key administrative role at the 1996 Olympics and the 1998 World Cup in France, especially during bonus rows involving the NFA and players.
Former Nigerian internationals John Mikel Obi (left) and Joseph Yobo (middle) have had family members kidnapped in the country.
Kidnappings, which mostly target politicians, the wealthy, and the famous, are common in Nigeria, although players, officials, and their families have also been targeted.
Former Nigeria midfielder Christian Obodo was traumatised two years ago when he was kidnapped for the second time in eight years in the country’s oil-rich Delta state.
Abdullahi Biffo, the abducted coach of Nigerian Premier League club Katsina United, was released three weeks later after an undisclosed ransom was paid, and two months later, the mother of Nigerian international Samuel Kalu was released after being kept captive for six days by gunmen.
Those two occurrences occurred a year after John Mikel Obi’s father, a former Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder, was abducted for the second time in seven years and released when a ransom of 10 million naira (about $27,500) was paid.
Armed men kidnapped Onyekachi Apam, a defender living in France, in 2007. They confiscated his car before releasing him.
A year later, Everton defender Joseph Yobo’s older brother was kidnapped in oil-rich Port Harcourt before being released 10 days later.
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