"Security agents are working assiduously to track down the kidnappers and free the hostage," Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar said of the early morning abduction in the town of Gombi.
Abubakar confirmed the victim's nationality. A German foreign ministry spokesman told AFP he "was aware of the case" but declined to comment further.
Residents in Gombi, roughly 100 kilometres from Yola - Adamawa's capital, described the hostage as a teacher at a government-run technical training centre.
They said a small group of gunmen approached as he left his home in the Anguwan Faransa (French quarters) neighbourhood. They drew their guns and signalled for their dozen accomplices to swarm before carting the German away on a motorcycle.
"As soon as he came out of his house and was about to enter his car to go to work, two of them walked up to him and pointed a gun," said Yakubu Jauro, who lives in the area.
David Adamu, another nearby resident, said more than a dozen blankets had been found outside the victim's house.
"We believe they were abandoned by the kidnappers who must have passed the night there lying in wait for their captive," he said.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, initial blame will likely fall on Boko Haram, which has led a five-year insurgency aimed at creating a hardline Islamic state in the Muslim-majority north of Nigeria
Boko Haram, which loosely translates as "Western education is forbidden", opposes schools that teach a so-called Western curriculum and has launched previous attacks on teachers and students.