Nigerian coach begs kidnappers to free his mother

AFP , Tuesday 17 Nov 2015

Samson Siasia
Nigeria's under-23 football team coach (Photo: Reuters)

Nigeria's under-23 football team coach on Tuesday appealed to kidnappers who seized his mother to release her, as he tries to secure the side's qualification for next year's Olympics.

Samson Siasia said his 72-year-old mother Ogere was abducted on Monday in the village of Odoni, in southern Bayelsa state, by three men on a motorbike.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria's oil-rich south. Targets are often family members of prominent people or foreigners and victims are usually released unharmed once money changes hands.

Siasia said his mother was the sole carer of his elderly father, who is visually impaired.

The coach was quoted as saying on the Nigeria Football Federation website: "What do they expect from me? I don't have money."

Siasia is currently in Gambia with the under-23 squad for a training camp before the team takes on Senegal as part of the qualifiers for Rio De Janeiro next year.

"I beg them to please release my mother so that I can concentrate on this task of qualifying the U23 national team for the men's football event of the Rio Olympics," he added.

NFF president Amaju Pinnick called the kidnapping "disturbing".

There was no immediate response when AFP contacted police in Bayelsa but spokesman Ansinim Butswat confirmed the incident had been reported, Nigerian media reported.

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