John Mikel Obi paid $4000 to free the Olympic football squad after the team was held to ransom by hotel officials in Sao Paulo over bills incurred by additional NFF officials according to reports.
According to the report by African Football, the team is comprised of 25 players-18 players and 7 officials, but extra five officials were added to the team’s hotel roster, and the hotel management insisted the team pay before departing, but instead of the NFF or the Sports Ministry to pay up the bills, Mikel Obi, who is also Team Nigeria’s captain shelled out $4,000 before they were allowed to leave the Sao Paulo hotel to Salvador.
“We just arrived Salvador now (5.20pm Nigerian time) from Sao Paolo. We nearly missed our flight because of unpaid bills in the hotel. The hotel held us to ransom,” a team official told AfricanFootball.com
“The problem is that all the additional officials here in Brazil are the responsibility of the Nigeria Football Federation, who said they will pay for them, but they did not pay for them again.
“The affected officials included the team’s media officer, the team coordinator, the kits manager in charge of players and officials’ kits and the accompanying assistant director technical.
“A call was put across to the honourable minister of youths and sports, he said we should put the bill in the (credit) card but the card didn’t work. They tried and tried but the minister said that only 18 players and seven officials should be captured as regards payment according to the rules of the Olympic Games.
“So, the hotel bills of these other officials, about five of them cost the sum of over $4,000. They held us hostage for more than one hour and we nearly missed our flight. It was Mikel (Obi) who rescued us by paying the money.
“I can tell you honestly speaking that this incident is not the fault of the minister because the minister listed the people to be accommodated which were 18 players and seven officials”