Enyimba midfielder Dayo Ojo was abducted by gunmen on his way home to Akure, Nigeria, on Sunday while traveling in his car, a club official told ESPN, in what turned out to be a troubled day for Nigerian football following the death of Ifeanyi George and two others in a car crash.
Ojo, 25, was abducted along with Benjamin Iluyomade, who plays for Abia Comets in the Nigerian second tier, and a third player, fellow Enyimba teammate Emmanuel James.
James, who managed to get away, confirmed the incident to reporters.
According to James, the car carrying the players — which Ojo was driving — along with a few other commercial vehicles on the route encountered an unknown number of armed gunmen who had set up what looked like a police checkpoint on the busy Benin-Owo road, about three hours from Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
“We were traveling on the road when the gunmen came out from the bush and attacked us,” James said.
“They shot sporadically before abducting some people in the vehicle including the two players but I managed to escape.”
Enyimba confirmed the incident in an official statement on Monday.
“Enyimba Football Club can announce that midfielder Ekundayo Ojo has been abducted by gunmen along the Benin-Owo expressway,” the club statement read.
“The incident occurred on Sunday, March 22 as the player journeyed to Akure to observe a break following the suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League amid concerns over the global pandemic, COVID-19.
“Ojo was in the company of Enyimba teammate Emmanuel James, as well as Benjamin Iluyomade, also a professional footballer. While James escaped the attack, Iluyomade was captured alongside Ojo.
“Enyimba FC has since maintained close contact with Ojo’s family, as efforts are already in place to ensure the player’s release from his abductors. –ESPN