ABUJA – The mother of Nigerian international soccer player Samuel Kalu, who plays for France’s Girondins de Bordeaux, was held captive in his country by kidnappers demanding ransom of 15 million Nigerian naira (around $41,438) for her release, Kalu said Tuesday.
Ozuruonye Juliet Kalu was abducted in the town of Umuamacha Umueze in Abia State, southeastern Nigeria, as she was on her was home on Feb. 27, and the Nigerian police have been looking for her since.
“Please help me beg them to release my mother because my ambition is to do everything within my powers and capabilities to help the Super Eagles (Nigeria’s national team) win the forthcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations,” Samuel Kalu said to Nigerian press.
Initially, the captors demanded three million nairas from the 21-year-old, who paid the ransom, however, the gang declined to release his mother and asked for another 15 million naira.
“The kidnappers asked for the ransom of N3 million the first time which was given to them and assured us that they will release her,” he added.
“We waited the whole night we did not see her. The next morning they called again that they want more money that the money was giving to another person. Now they are asking for the ransom of N15 million,” Kalu explained.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s head coach, Gernot Rohr, expressed his sadness upon hearing the news of the kidnapping.
“Kalu is one of the very important players in the Super Eagles’ team. I have been talking to him to calm him down and have also assured him that the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation will definitely help him out because we have been discussing with the NFF on this issue,” Rohr said according to the Nigerian press.
The player was called up by the Super Eagles for the qualifying matches of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Super Eagles are set to clash against Seychelles on March 22 in Nigeria.
This is not the first case of kidnapping in the Nigerian sports world. During the 2018 World Cup held in Russia, the father of the Nigerian team captain, John Obi Mikel, was also kidnapped before the match of the African team against Argentina.