Captain of the Akure Gunners, Abe Sunday, has confirmed that kidnappers of former Sunshine Stars midfielder Ekundayo Ojo received ₦2.5m before releasing the player.
Enyimba ace Ojo and Abia Comets’ Benjamin Iluyomade both ended up in the den of gunslinging criminals while returning home from team camp on Sunday in the wake of the Nigeria Professional Football League’s suspension induced by the coronavirus outbreak.
The two players were kidnapped at Ipele town along Benin-Akure Expressway in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo state.
However, Ojo and Iluyomade, who were former teammates at Sunshine Stars, regained their freedom on Wednesday, having spent four days with their abductors.
It has now been revealed that it required the combined efforts of Enyimba Football Club and the families of the players to secure the footballers’ release and not that of the Nigeria Police Force.
Abe, who was one of the persons that delivered the ransom to the kidnappers, said the kidnappers initially demanded N100 million before negotiations kicked off.
“We negotiated from ₦100m to ₦20m before they finally agreed on ₦2.5m,” the Owena Waves captain told journalists as reported by The Nation.
“Those people have back up in the Army and the Police. They never asked us to drop the money inside the bush; they met with us one on one.
“They asked me to bring the money before they released them, so I don’t know where police rescued them because I don’t like ‘fake news’ we reached Akure around 1 am on Thursday.
“But the most important thing is that both of them are alive and are back with their families.”
Ojo, capped seven times for the Super Eagles, was part of the country’s home-based team that finished as runners-up at the 2018 African Nations Championship.
He joined the Aba based outfit after spending a decade at boyhood club, Sunshine Stars.