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The rising kidnappings in Lagos have mocked the security architecture which the state police command claimed to have put in place.
Among those recently abducted by masked gunmen are retired Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Sikiru Smith, a pastor, a couple and a Lagos-based businessman.
This new trend in kidnapping seems to have introduced a more dangerous crime trend in Lagos.
Experts believe that the robust security architecture which the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Police Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu, claimed to have put in place when he assumed duty, was Monday punctured by some unknown gunmen who waylaid AVM Smith and abducted him.
The reason for his abduction has yet to be ascertained; neither his whereabouts known as his abductors have not contacted his relations.
Sources said the retired air vice marshal who was released on Saturday, was kidnapped at night while leaving his work site along Ajah-Badore Road on the outskirts of Lagos State.
It is believed that the kidnap gang, which also abducted a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and his wife at Dopemu area of Agege, had abducted an insurance broker.
Witnesses said that the couple were stopped around Akowonjo, inward Dopemu while they were on their way home.
Their driver was forced into one of the cars used by the kidnappers.
A security firm, Eons Intelligence, alleged that the third victim was kidnapped on Admiralty Way in Lekki Phase One, by another set of hooded gunmen.
The firm said the victim was also driven away to an unknown destination.
In a post on its social media platform, Eons Intelligence wrote: “The couple kidnapped in Dopemu area of Agege, Lagos, was whisked away in their car while their driver moved into another car believed to be stolen.
“Update this morning is that the gunmen have released the wife, to source for the N50m ransom demand brought down from the initial N100m.”
Sources close to the pastor’s family confirmed that the woman was released early on Tuesday by the kidnappers who dropped her by the residence.
“They took the couple captive and demanded N100m ransom within hours of kidnapping them. But early this morning, they dropped the woman near their house with an instruction to source for N50m ransom in order for her husband to be released,” the source said.
There is now palpable tension in the state over the upsurge in kidnapping for ransom.
To allay the fear of the people, the Command says it has re-strategized to provide watertight security for all law-abiding residents of the state.
The CP gave a standing order to all field commanders, tactical unit commanders, other uniformed and plain-clothed police officers to intensify visibility policing, vehicular patrol as well as intelligence-driven raid of all flashpoints/blackspots and identified criminal hideouts to smoke out men of the underworld hibernating in them.
The CP also stated that the Police Command is conscious of its statutory duties of protecting lives and property among other duties, and would not for any reason or at any time abdicate these important duties.