Lagos safe despite retd air vice marshal’s kidnap, police insist

Jesusegun Alagbe

The police in Lagos have cautioned people against using “isolated” kidnapping incidents to adjudge the state as unsafe.

The police stated this in reaction to comments by some people that the state is no longer safe following Tuesday’s kidnapping of retired Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith by gunmen in Lagos.

Masked gunmen on Tuesday abducted Smith in the Ajah area of the state. The victim is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith.

Sikiru, who is currently the Chairman of Double Wealth Ventures Limited, a dredging and engineering firm, was reportedly supervising work on a site at Ajah when the gunmen invaded the place and shot randomly.

The gunmen were said to have whisked the retired air vice marshal away in a waiting speedboat and sped away.

Following comments on social media tagging the state as unsafe because of the incident, the police insisted the state is safe.

Lagos command police spokesperson, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, said this in a statement titled: ‘Don’t panic, Lagos is safe, Lagos CP assures residents.’

Read also: Gunmen kidnap retired Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith in Lagos

The statement read, “The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a trending post on social media obviously exaggerated kidnapping incidents in Lagos State recently.

“The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, wishes to assure residents that Lagos State is safe, and that they should not panic on account of the viral post or the recent security infringement in Ajah where AVM Sikiru Smith (retd) was abducted on 27 September.

“The assurance becomes imperative in view of the unnecessary alarm and concerns being raised on social media about isolated security infractions in some parts of the state.

“The victim, who was kidnapped in Festac on Sunday 26 September has been rescued and reunited with his family. Operatives of the command are being tactical so as not to jeopardise the lives of the AVM and the pastor. Concerted efforts are ongoing to rescue them and arrest their abductors in due course.”

In view of the above, Ajisebutu quoted Odumosu as saying “the isolated incidents notwithstanding, Lagos State is, and will remain one of the safest states in Nigeria.”

The statement read, “To allay the fear of the people, therefore, the command has re-strategised to provide watertight security for all law-abiding residents of the state. The Commissioner of Police has given 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/black spots and identify criminal hideouts to smoke out men of the underworld hibernating in them.

“The CP also wishes to state 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.”

“While still pleading with members of the public to believe in the police’s ability to protect them at all times, the Commissioner of Police once again solicits the support of the public, sister agencies, and other strategic partners by giving prompt but actionable intelligence that would further decimate criminal elements and their nefarious activities in the state,” the police added.

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