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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Kidnappers release brother of Everton's Yobo

Kidnappers have released the older brother of Everton and Nigeria defender Joseph Yobo after almost two weeks in captivity.

Norum Yobo was snatched at gunpoint with three other men on July 5 as they made their way home from a nightclub in Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria.

After a 12 days of uncertainty, Norum Yobo's release was confirmed by John Ola Shittu, who manages Joseph's affairs.

Shittu told kickoffnigeria: 'Yes, I can confirm to you that Nornu has been released.

'He was released last night and he flew into Lagos this morning to meet his brothers.

'He is now at home resting and just trying to recover.'

Norum Yobo was kidnapped in the D-Line area of the city along with his two colleagues, identified as Barry C Lakara and Ifeanyi Nwa, after attending the Illussion Nite Club

The two other men were released almost instantly, but Yobo was held, it is thought because of his brother's high profile

Kidnappings are common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of the country, with militants acting against the oil industry in an attempt to secure a larger share of petroleum funds.

This latest incident is only the second involving a sports figure following the abduction of Enyimba chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu last month.

A ransom of five million Nigerian naira (£20,000) was eventually paid to secure the release of the soccer boss, but Shittu refused to say if any money was paid to secure the release of Yobo.

However, he thanked Everton for their support during the ordeal.

'On behalf of Joseph and the family, I want to say a big thank you to Everton Football Club. They were very supportive in every way possible, especially the chairman (Bill Kenwright), who was calling on a daily basis to find out how things were progressing.'

He added that the Nigeria vice-captain was keen to put the incident behind him as he prepares for the new season ahead.

'Joe is very happy to see him, but he is still down emotionally, still shaken. Right now, he just wants to get himself emotionally ready enough to get set for pre-season training,' concluded Shittu.

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