Nigeria’s former secretary-general of the football federation Ahmed Sani Toro, who was kidnapped on June 18th, has been released by armed kidnappers. Two other men – former Nigeria under-23 assistant coach Garba Ila and Isa Jah- were also released, the BBC reported.
On Saturday night, all three were kidnapped when they were driving back from the capital Abuja to Bauchi after attending the wedding of the son of the former president of football association.
“They’ve been speaking to one of Toro’s children and making some ridiculous ransom demand which might be very difficult for them to get. It’s very sad because Garba Ila had been hospitalised recently and is not in good shape,” BBC had quoted.
The BBC reported that the kidnappers had reduced their ransom demand on 20 June, though, it’s not clear whether the ransom was paid before they were released.
Kidnappings for ransom have become common across Nigeria. According to the data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, armed gangs killed more than 2600 civilians last year.
Last month, Nigeria’s Senate passed a bill imposing jail terms of at least 15 years for anyone paying a ransom to a kidnapper to free someone who has been abducted. The bill also made abducting an individual punishable by death in cases where the victims die.
The proposed bill to punish the family members paying ransoms have stirred a debate in the country.
Toro was the secretary-general in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for six years from 1993, and was at the helm when Nigeria qualified for their first World Cup finals in 1994.