The Enugu State Police Command has confirmed that Rivers United manager Stanley Eguma was kidnapped by unknown assailants on Tuesday.
In a statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, Police Commissioner Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, confirmed a report of Eguma’s abduction was made to the anti-kidnapping unit of the force about an hour after the incident on Tuesday.
The statement said members of the public with information relevant to resolving the case can reach the Police on the hotlines 08032003702, 08075390883, 08086671202, 08098880172 or by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The long-serving manager was reportedly abducted by yet-to-be-identified persons as he returned with his team from Sunday’s matchday 27 fixture against Adamawa United in Gombe.
Eguma was in a different vehicle from the players and had been travelling with his assistants when he was taken around Enugu a club source who asked to be unnamed because they weren’t authorised to speak on the matter told busybuddiesng.com on Wednesday.
Neither Rivers United nor the state government which owns the club has acknowledged the development.
Kidnapping has been on the rise in Nigeria with football figures – who are perceived as well off and thus a lucrative source of ransoms – increasingly targeted as a restive population resort to crime in the face of worsening economic hardship and burgeoning youth unemployment.
Enyimba midfielder Dayo Ojo and Abia Comets player Benjamin Iluyomade were kidnapped in March 2020 and spent three days in captivity before they were rescued by police.
In 2007, former international Onyekachi Apam was abducted by armed men and in 2018, an elder brother of former Eagles captain and coach Joseph Yobo was abducted and held for ten days in Port Harcourt.
Former Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi’s father was kidnapped in Jos during the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the incident relayed to Obi just hours before he took to the field against Argentina.
In 2019, the mother of Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu was abducted by unknown persons in Aba, Abia State before being released after six days.
Former Eagles midfielder and coach Samson Siasia has seen his mother Mrs Beauty Ogere kidnapped on several occasions the latest which occurred on 15 July 2019 in Sagbama, Bayelsa.
She was eventually released three weeks after a one and a half million naira ransom payment was made to her abductors.