Nigeria footballer Obodo abducted, says family

Nigeria international Christian Obodo has been abducted in Warri, southern Nigeria, his family confirmed.

The player's family said Obodo, who last season played for Lecce in Italy's Serie A, was driving alone in his car following a visit to a relative when he was taken by unknown gunmen.

"His whereabouts are unknown but his car was left behind by the kidnappers. We are yet to receive any call demanding a ransom," said a family member on Saturday, under condition of anonymity.

Oil city Warri is in the restive Niger Delta, where kidnapping is commonplace.

Obodo was for several years a Nigeria international. Last season, he played on loan at Lecce from Serie A side Udinese. Lecce were relegated to Serie B on May 13 after finishing third from bottom of Italy's top flight.

The 28-year-old midfielder is not the first Nigerian footballer to be abducted.

The brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in 2008 and freed days later, while last year the father of Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi was also abducted before being freed after a police raid.

A brief statement from Lecce on Obodo's abduction said: "We hope the situation can be resolved as soon as possible in the best possible way."

Obodo's brother, Kenneth Obodo, who is also a footballer in Italy and is currently in Nigeria, was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying: "Christian is fine. We are in touch with the kidnappers, who want some money.

"We can't give them more than 100,000 euros ($125,000). Unfortunately these things happen in our country."

His brother-in-law, Obidike Okechukwu, was quoted by ANSA as saying that the kidnappers had asked for a ransom of 150,000 euros.

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