Retired deputy customs controller regains freedom, four others held




A retired deputy Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service, Mohammed Zarma, kidnapped last Thursday in Kwara state has been released by his abductors.

The victim, a fish farmer was abducted on his farm at Oke Jia, Egbejila along Obate village in the Asa local government area.

His abductors reportedly trekked to the farm with dangerous weapons such as Ak47,  and “took the man away by trekking through the bush”.

According to a close source of the retired customs officer, the kidnap victim was released on Monday night and was said to be recuperating in a private hospital from experience suffered from the abduction.

Although, it was not clear how much was eventually paid as ransom, the source said the abductors had initially demanded for N10m which was later negotiated to N6m.

Speaking on the development, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), who confirmed that the farmer had been released, however, said he needed to make contacts before he could give details.

An earlier statement by the PPRO on the development, said the retired deputy Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service was kidnapped on his farm located at Oke Jia, Egbejila at about 1730hrs on January 6, 2022 by some unknown gunmen speaking a particular Nigerian language. 

“On the visit to the scene after the incident by the command’s operatives, four empty shells of expended ammunition were recovered,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, four persons kidnapped along Obbo Ayegunle/Osi road in the Ekiti local government area of the state last week, including a mechanic; Sunday Balogun, his pregnant wife; Mary, his apprentices, Taiye, and his twin brother, Kehinde, are yet to be freed by their abductors, except the wife.

Speaking on the incident, a close member of the family, Mrs. Laoye Seyifunmi, said the kidnappers abandoned Sunday’s vehicle at the roadside after the incident.

Another close family source, who does not want his name in print said that the kidnappers have contacted the family demanding for N10million ransom.

“They have contacted the family demanding for N10million ransom. We have been able to negotiate it to N4million. 

“Although, the family and community have been able to gather N2million, they rejected it and said that a Toyota Sienna in his workshop should be sold to pay the ransom,” he said.

A top security official confirmed the incident, saying that the wife of the mechanic, Mary, has been freed.