Crimes/Tragedy

Kidnappers release retired air chief

Retired Air Vice-Marshal Sikiru Smith who was kidnapped by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, has regained his freedom, the police said in Lagos on Saturday.

Police spokesman in Lagos state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the development when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He did not mention where Mr Smith was released, where he is currently, or whether or not ransom was paid.

“I can confirm to you that AVM Smith has been released today. That is all I can say for now,’’ Mr Ajisebutu said.

Masked gunmen abducted Mr Smith on Monday on the Ajah-Badore Road, in Lagos State.

A “Save-Our-Soul’’ audio released by his driver, Odiji, a corporal, said Mr Smith was abducted from a work site in Ajah, and forcibly whisked away in a boat that sailed towards the Ikorodu area of the state.

In the one minute and four seconds audio, the corporal said: “Good evening house. Please, this is an emergency. I am Cpl. Odiji, attached to AVM Smith. Oga was just moved from the site we were working. Some gunmen wearing masks just came and pulled him out of the site.

“They shot everywhere and took him away. I was nearby where he asked me to fix his vehicle. I am his driver. As I was coming back, I saw them where they went on a boat through the water.

“I was not armed. So, I ran to the site and found Oga’s glasses and where he struggled with them before they took him off.

“Please, somebody should pass the message. They went from `Blenco’ area in Ajah and sailed towards Ikorodu area on water.’’

Mr Smith is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, retired I-G Musiliu Smith. (NAN)

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