Chief Michael Obi, the 74-year-old father of Super Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi, recently regained freedom from kidnappers for the second time and is now sharing his terrifying five-day experience and reasons why Mikel rarely comes home.
In a recent chat with Dailytrust, when asked about the experience, he said: “I was travelling home for a family meeting in Enugu. Not quite long after a checkpoint, we heard gunshots ahead of us, so we stopped.
My driver reckoned it was armed robbers, and tried to reverse the car. But another car from nowhere blocked us from behind, and the people within came and dragged us out. The kidnappers were six, well-armed and masked.
They assaulted us, and dragged us into the bush. We walked for many hours, and when I complained that I could not continue, they beat me again. Eventually, they told my driver to carry me on his back.
But after a while, he also got tired and dropped me. We walked into the bush for what seemed like the whole night, until the next morning. I asked them what they wanted from me, and that was when they told me they wanted N100m.
We communicated in Hausa, and some broken English. I told them I could not afford it, and they said they heard that my son sends me N50m to me bi-weekly. I told them I only had N2 million in my bank account.
I finally pegged it at N10 million. My other son, Ebele, who is the goalkeeper for Heartlands of Owerri, contacted Mikel. That was how the ransom was made available.”
When asked about his relationship with Mikel, he said: “It is an issue, but we don’t know what to do. It’s over five years now without a phone call from him to me. But he communicates with his mother.
There is nothing I have not done to fix it. God has told me that I should not feel hurt. When we start to talk about it, I say, ‘Well, as long as I see him on TV, doing great, no problem’.
He once told his brother that sometimes he picks his phone to call me, but something tells him not to. Sometime last year, he was to bring his kids so that I could name them, he said he would. But he didn’t.”