The Enugu state police have confirmed the alleged abduction of Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma in south-eastern Nigeria by unknown gunmen.
In a statement, the police say the abduction of the coach happened on 15 June on his way back from an away match against Adamawa United played in Gombe state in northern Nigeria.
The police say two men travelling with Eguma alerted them to the ambush, which they said was carried out by unknown gunmen.
They say the vehicle they were travelling in was forced to the side of the road and the pair were then forced out of the car and the kidnappers drove off with Eguma still in the vehicle.
Rivers United are yet to release a statement on the incident, the club’s general manager told BBC News Pidgin that ‘they will respond soon on the issue.’
Enugu state commissioner of police, Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu has since launched a full-scale investigation to rescue the coach.
Eguma is the longest serving coach in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
He joined the now defunct Dolphins in 2008 and was retained by Rivers United in 2017 after the government merged Sharks and Dolphins football clubs to form a Port Harcourt club, Rivers United.
The kidnapping of footballers, their relatives and club officials has become a common occurrence in Nigeria. Eguma is the second NPFL coach to be kidnapped in 24 months— after Katsina United’s Abdulahi Biffo.
In 2018, the father of Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi was kidnapped for the second time in seven years.
Last year, two Nigerian footballers – one a Super Eagles international – were kidnapped. Ekundayo Ojo of Enyimba and Abia Comet’s Banjamin Iluyomade later regained their freedom.
Former National team coach Samson Siasia also had his mother held in captivity for ten weeks before she was released.