Kidnappers have released the mother of Bordeaux and Nigeria winger Samuel Kalu after holding her for nearly a week, police in the country’s southeast said on Tuesday.
Ozuruonye Juliet Kalu was seized from her car on February 27 as she travelled to her home in Abia state. Reports said the kidnappers demanded some three million naira ($40,000, 35,000 euros) for her release.
But it was not known whether the money was paid, Abia state police spokesman Godfrey Ogbona told AFP.
“She was released around midnight (2300 GMT) of Monday and she has been reunited with her people,” he said.
“Circumstances surrounding her release has not been disclosed to me for now.
“But we are still investigating the incident in a bid towards ensuring that those who carried out the act are arrested and brought to book.”
Nigeria’s Sporting Life publication quoted the 21-year-old footballer as saying the kidnappers initially asked for three million naira in payment, then upped the demand to 15 million.
“We waited the whole night, we did not see her. The next morning they called again (saying) that they want more money, that the money was (being) given to another person,” he added.
“Now they are asking for the ransom of N15 million.”
Kalu made a breakthrough into Nigeria’s national side in October last year, shortly after joining French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux from Belgian outfit Gent.
Kidnapping is commonplace in southern Nigeria and the family members of prominent, wealthy individuals are regularly targeted. Most are released within days after money is paid.
Last year, the father of Nigerian World Cup skipper John Mikel Obi was kidnapped at gunpoint during the tournament. He was released after payment of a 10 million naira ransom.
Poverty is seen as a key driver of the phenomenon, with some one in four Nigerians unemployed and nearly half the country of 190 million living on less than $1.90 a day.
The crime has spread to northern states in recent years.
CAF denies audit allegations
African football governing body rejects claims of fraudulent transactions
The Confederation of African Football [CAF], has said the findings of an audit that concluded it was unreliable and untrustworthy are “unfounded”.
Details of the audit, by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), came out during the week. The audit questioned the body’s accounting, its governance, and its payments, which it found to be “unreliable and not trustworthy,” amongst its findings.
The audit also highlighted transactions totaling more than $20m (£15.4m) which either have “little or no supporting documentation” or were considered “higher risk”.
CAF released a statement addressing the audit and what it claims are “unfounded allegations contained in the report,” following an Executive Committee meeting in Doha on Friday.
It said officials from PwC were invited to the meeting but had “failed to make it.”
The statement specifically sought to address three areas in which questions had been raised: support payments made for the funerals of “individuals who have served African football”; the use of development funds linked to the FIFA Forward project; a deal with the little-known gym equipment maker Tactical Steel to supply sportswear.
CAF said the funeral payments were “acts of solidarity in support of families”, specifically naming the family of senior Kenyan football official Hussein Swaleh, who died in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.
It also said the use of FIFA Forward funds had been “strictly governed by procedures set by FIFA.” PwC’s audit had reviewed just under $10m of FIFA Forward payments to CAF and found only five of the 40 payments “appeared to be aligned to purpose” while the rest, totaling some $8.3m, either had “little or no supporting documentation” or were considered “unusual/higher risk”.
The Tactical Steel deal, into which the PwC report recommended an investigation, was also addressed, though CAF said only that “the procedures are before various jurisdictions” and that it was “ready to provide the relevant justification for the matter as previously authorized by the CAF Executive Committee.”
Mali’s Moussa Marega suffers racist abuse
FC Porto striker walked off the pitch after he was subjected to racist abuse from opposition fans
Mali international Moussa Marega walked off the pitch midway through his side’s win at Vitoria Guimaraes, saying he was subjected to racist abuse from fans.
The former Esperance de Tunis forward started to walk towards the exit in the 69th minute, nine minutes after scoring what would prove the winner in Porto’s 2-1 victory.
He pointed his thumbs down and also raised his middle fingers to the crowd.
Team-mates and opposition players tried to persuade him to stay on, but he was eventually substituted.
Marega in an Instagram post, said the home supporters “who come to the stadium to make racist screams” were “idiots”.
Coach of FC Porto, Sergio Conceicao said: “We are a family regardless of nationality, skin colour, hair colour. We are human, we deserve respect. What happened here is unfortunate.
“We are completely indignant about what happened. I know the passion that exists for Vitoria and I think most of the fans do not see themselves in the same attitude of some people who have insulted Moussa since the warm-up.”
Porto’s match report on their website described it as “a sad situation that should make the Guimaraes club and Portuguese football blush with shame”.
Team-mates including Alex Telles, Sergio Oliveira and Ivan Marcano all tried to stop Marega walking off the pitch, grabbing the Malian player around the waist – but he pushed everyone aside on his way to the tunnel.
Marega spent the 2016-17 campaign on loan at Vitoria, scoring 15 goals in 25 games.
Kaizer Chiefs to appeal FIFA transfer ban
PSL club banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows
South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs have announced that they will lodge an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in accordance to article 58 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes.
This move comes after the FIFA Disciplinary Committee banned Amakhosi from signing any new players in the next two transfer windows.
The ban was imposed by the world football governing body after Fosa Juniors of Madagascar logged a complaint stating that midfielder Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana had signed a contract with them before moving to the Absa Premiership giants in 2018.
Chiefs and ‘Dax’ dispute this claim, but were found guilty nonetheless. Chiefs were duly banned from signing any new players in the next two transfer windows, while they have also been ordered according to Times Live to pay Fosa Juniors R640,000 in compensation, plus interest.
Dax has been suspended for four months and will duly miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season as things stand.
The 28-year-old managed just 16 appearances for Chiefs before joining Black Leopards on-loan in August.
Inside Africa’s largest media conference
Mubarak given state funeral, Egypt declares 3-day national mourning
South Africa scales back public spending in budget presentation to parliament
Ethiopia frees 63 critics, opposition prisoners jailed over alleged coup
Masiyiwa to Bid for Ethiopian Telecoms License
Is the Lagos State Government detached from reality?
Nigerian Actor, Juwon Awe Is Dead
Nigerian startup orders fifty A220 planes from Airbus, dumps Boeing 737 Max
Nigerian English is a thing and the world is noticing
Misery on repeat
Will Uber and others replace Lagos’ yellow cabs?
Vimbai Chats with Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on SA Tourism
Abi Owolawi Chats with Vumile Msweli on Human Resources
#NCExclusive with Rotimi Akinoso of “Power”
2019 Southern Sun Ikoyi Golf Tournament Press Briefing
Politics1 week ago
Foremost Nigerian broadcast equipment supplier, Lucky Omoluwa is dead
Business News1 week ago
Uber to face commission capping regulations in Kenya
News1 week ago
Gunmen in military uniforms kill 22 in Cameroon, separatists blame army
North Africa1 week ago
Tunisian PM submits list of cabinet nominees, awaits parliamentary approval
Business News1 week ago
Maroc Telecom reports $620 million profit
Entertainment1 week ago
MTN Nigeria announces Y’ello Star music talent show
North Africa Politics1 week ago
Sudan peace talks with rebels extended by 21 days
Politics5 days ago
‘Nigeria too important to be on US travel ban’, seeks removal -Interior minister