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John Obi Mikel Learned His Father Had Been Abducted Just Hours Before Nigeria Faced Argentina

"I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody," recounts Nigeria's national team captain.

UPDATE:

John Obi Mikel has released a statement, thanking Nigerian police for their efforts in helping rescue his father, and informing supporters that his father has returned home, where he is now recuperating.

Continue for the full story:

Last Tuesday, as soccer fans gathered to watch Nigeria take on Argentina in what would be their final 2018 World Cup match, the Super Eagle's captain John Obi Mikel learned some harrowing news: his father, Pa Michael Obi, had been kidnapped as he headed to a funeral in Southeastern Nigeria.

As Kwesé ESPN reports, despite what he had just learned, Mikel went on to face Argentina, as he was told by kidnappers that his father would be killed if he were to alert authorities just four hours before kickoff. The kidnappers demanded N10 million ($28,000) for his father's safe return.


"I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody," Obi told Kwese ESPN. "I played while my father was in the hands of bandits," he continued. "I had to suppress the trauma. I took a call four hours before kickoff to tell me what had happened."

His father and his driver, who were being held in the city of Egede in Enugu State, spent 6 days in captivity, and were rescued after a "gun duel" took place on Monday between the kidnappers and policemen, which forced the kidnappers to flee and leave the victims behind, the Nigerian Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. Obi senior, was taken to the hospital to recieve treatment for injuries he sustained.

Mikel spoke out about the incident for the very first time on Tuesday, revealing that he kept the information from his coach as well as the Nigerian Football Federation.

"I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game, he said. "So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it."

Despite being rocked by such difficult news, the player decided, that at that time, it was best to focus on representing his country on the world stage. "I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down."

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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Photo: YouTube Screenshot

Watch Focalistic & Vigro Deep’s New Music Video For ‘Ke Star’

The 'Lockdown Level 1 anthem' has come to life through fire visuals.

South African artist Focalistic has released a music video to accompany his hit single, "Ke Star" featuring Vigro Deep.

The rising artist continues solidifying his place with his effortless skill of blending his hip-hop roots with a love for amapiano.

South Africans certainly loved it enough to let it into their homes. Social media users quickly began sharing videos of themselves dancing away their lockdown woes to "Ke Star," helping share the track all over the world.

Directed by Steezus in Focalistic's childhood stomping ground, Ga-Rankuwa, Zone 2, the artist mentions: "The video was to try to explain the song in its fullest form and more importantly tell a genuine South African story. We're pushing a movement and there has to be visual representation." He certainly is representing the nation with pride.


Watch the music video for "Ke Star" here.


Focalistic Ke Star (Official Music Video) ft Vigro Deep www.youtube.com

(Youtube)

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Olamide, Nasty C, Davido, Mr Eazi x Nicki Minaj and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here, Apple Music here and YouTube Music here

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Listen to Alicia Keys & Diamond Platnumz’ New Song ‘Wasted Energy’

The Tanzanian music icon and American star team up on the track from her new album, ALICIA.