Representatives for Nigerian football player John Obi Mikel say he has received a ransom demand for the return of his missing father.
Michael Obi has not been seen since last Friday in the central Nigerian city of Jos, and family members say he was kidnapped.
The Sport Entertainment & Media Group says that reports of a $130,000 ransom demand for the release of Mikel’s father are not true.
But a company statement says the kidnappers have made a “sizeable” ransom demand, and that discussions on the father’s safe release have begun.
John Obi Mikel plays for Chelsea FC in the British Premier League. The statement from SEM says Mikel intends to play for Chelsea this weekend, after being encouraged by his family to do so.
Nigerian police have said they are looking for Mikel’s father, and announced Wednesday they had found his car. The police did not provide further details.
In an interview with Britain’s Sky Sports News this week, Mikel pleaded for his father’s return.
Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, but abductors usually target oil executives or workers in the restive Niger Delta region.
In 2008, the brother of another British Premier League player, Joseph Yobo, was kidnapped in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt. He was released days later. It is not clear if a ransom was paid. voa