Sierra Leone and workers at that country's embassy in Nigeria say kidnappers in northwestern Nigeria have abducted a diplomat and demand a $40 million ransom.

Sierra Leone's Information Minister Mohamed Bangura announced the kidnapping in Freetown and said Deputy High Commissioner Nelson Williams was going to a military graduation in Kano state.

The embassy workers say gunmen on Friday seized Williams on the highway between Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, and Kaduna. They said the kidnappers contacted the embassy to demand $40 million for Williams, a former chief of Sierra Leone's army. The workers spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

Two Nigerian army officers have been kidnapped on that highway in recent months. Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria.