Police sources have revealed the abductors of Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith
EKOHOTBLOG reports that police sources linked the abduction of a retired Air Vice Marshal, Sikiru Smith, to kidnappers who terrorised schools in Epe and Ikorodu areas about five years ago.
The police sources, while noting that the kidnappers have resumed their criminal escapades in the riverine areas of Lagos State, disclosed on Saturday that the abductors of the Air Vice Marshal lurked around the creeks in Ikorodu and Ajah axis before they eventually released Smith early Saturday.
The sources added that an undisclosed amount was paid as ransom.
Smith, the Chairman of Double Wealth Ventures Limited – a dredging and engineering firm – was kidnapped on Monday evening by masked gunmen at a site around Blenco Supermarket in Ajah, according to an SOS by his driver Corporal Adiji.
His kidnappers were said to have opened fire to scare people away, struggled with him before whisking him away on a boat.
In the one-minute and four seconds SOS voice note sent out by his driver, Smith was kidnapped around the Blenco area of Ajah and was taken in a speedboat
It was further learnt that the gunmen whisked him away in a waiting speedboat and headed towards Ikorodu.
A team drawn from different tactical squads and coordinated by the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, was set up to rescue the retired AVM, who is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith.
However, a source privy to the rescue operation disclosed that the former Air Force boss was freed at a spot in Ajah in the early hours of Saturday.
The source said, “They (the kidnappers) had been taking him between Ajah and Ikorodu all this while. The police were monitoring their movement but were being careful not to take any action that will put the man’s life at risk. He was eventually released around Ajah.
“A ransom was paid but I didn’t know the amount. In any case police were not party to ransom payment. The kidnappers are known; they were the ones who kidnapped children in schools in Ikorodu and Epe some five years ago before the issue was addressed. The police will go after them.”
According to a PUNCH report obtained by EKOHOTBLOG, another reliable source at the state police command revealed that Smith’s abduction was a resurgence by a kidnap gang that once carried out abductions in the Lagos schools.
The officer, however, said a manhunt had been launched for the gang.
“The police combed the Ikorodu area based on intelligence. We know those behind the kidnap and we are going after them. It is the same set of criminals who invaded secondary schools in Ikorodu and Epe some years back. The retired Air Vice Mashal was eventually released early today (Saturday) around Ajah,” the source said.
Efforts to get the freed Air Vice Marshal proved abortive as calls to his line on Saturday were not reachable.
Lagos State was under the grip of kidnappings, including abduction of schoolchildren, between 2016 and 2017.
One of the prominent incidents was the May 2017 invasion of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, by gunmen, who seized six pupils and took them away in a boat. The victims spent 64 days in captivity before they were released after ransom payment.
In June 2017, suspected kidnappers wrote Lagos State Model College, Kankon, Badagry, threatening to abduct some pupils and staff members of the school “the same way we did at Igbonla, Epe.” The attack was however averted.
Earlier, in March 2016, three schoolgirls at Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School, Ikorodu, were abducted by gunmen. They were rescued about five days later and some suspects arrested.
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