The Ogun State Police Command has said one 37-year-old woman, Bilikisu Kazeem, was killed while some others were kidnapped during an attack along the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway on Friday.
The incident reportedly occurred at the Bamboo area, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway inward Lagos.
Among those kidnapped was the chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Philip Aivoji, and some other party chieftains.
It was also learnt that the abductors are demanding N200 million for the release of the party leaders.
In an interview with Saturday PUNCH, the governorship candidate of Lagos PDP in the 2023 general elections, Dr Abdul-Azeez Adediran, said Aivoji was “taken” by the hoodlums.
He added, “They went to Ibadan yesterday (Thursday) for a South-West stakeholders meeting but on their way back to Lagos, it happened.”
The PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Hakeem Amode, called on the security agencies to move swiftly to secure the release of its chairman and other victims.
It read in part, “The Lagos State chapter of the PDP urgently calls upon security agencies and government authorities at all levels to intervene promptly and secure the release of our chairman, Mr Philip Aivoji.
“It is disheartening that kidnapping has become a prevalent issue in our country, and the government’s inability to address this menace is deeply concerning.
“The abduction of Aivoji underscores the pressing need for decisive actions from the government and stakeholders to eradicate this menace. Aivoji’s abduction was a violent incident, and his current whereabouts or any communication from the abductors remains unknown.”
Reacting, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Omolola Odutola, stated that they were yet to ascertain the identity and numbers of the kidnapped victims.
She noted that the victims, including the Chief Security Officer of Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade, Mr Adeyinka Matthew, were rushed to the hospital after they sustained bullet wounds while Kazeem succumbed to her injuries.
“On January 25th, around 5 pm, we received information that some certain kidnappers whose numbers are yet to be ascertained. They suddenly emerged from the bush at the Bamboo area, inward Lagos, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“They blocked the highway and fired gunshots sporadically confusing oncoming vehicles. It was at the sight of the incident that we were alerted. The police and army patrol came to the scene.
“Occupants of one white Mazda bus, sustained leg injuries as they were escaping from the hoodlum. There was a man called Adeyinka Matthew, the CSO of Gateway Poly Sapade, who was coming from a medical checkup at UCH Ibadan in his Toyota Corolla car, he sustained a bullet injury but all of them are responding to treatment. But one Bilikisu Kazeem (f), age 37 years, sustained a bullet injury but later died before getting to the hospital,” Odutola said.
When asked if the PDP chairman was among the victims, she added, “There is no mention of PDP or APC in my confirmation. The attack doesn’t know political affiliation what the police are interested in is the protection of lives and property.”
She, however, disclosed that security operatives chased the kidnappers inside the forest up to a village after Ogun, but were waiting for further assistance from the villagers, adding that “the CP is in contact with the tactical units deployed for a rescue mission. No tension, no panic, all effort is calculated to ensure the victims are rescued I scratched.”
Meanwhile, the PDP, Labour Party, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party have urged President Bola Tinubu to take decisive action to address the issue of insecurity.
The PDP Deputy National Publicity, Ibrahim Abdullahi, in an interview with our correspondent, said, “The situation is terrible. Nigerians are suffering and they are also afraid because the country is no longer safe.
“As a party, we suggest that President Tinubu should overhaul the security architecture. And he should address all the economic challenges because the economy correlates with insecurity. If the economic challenges are addressed, then the security situation will improve. If not, then the problem may continue,” he stated.
Also, the spokesman for the LP 2023 Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, questioned the type of training and information security personnel receive, saying, “President Tinubu needs to look into the military formation. What is it that we are doing that is wrong? What is it that we are doing to the lower-ranking officers? What type of information are they getting? And how are we motivating them for them to be able to take on the insecurity head-on.”
On his part, the NNPP National Publicity Secretary, Yakubu Shemdam, urged the President to overhaul the security system and examine the recruitment process of all security agencies.
PDP calls for prayers
Meanwhile, the Lagos State chapter of the PDP has called on Nigerians, particularly in the South-West, to pray for the safe release of its abducted chairman, Mr Philip Aivoji.
The PDP State Secretary, Mr Soji Orioye, made this plea in a statement, on Friday, noting that the abducted chairman was elderly and frail.
According to Orioye, the party believes the abduction of Aivoji will not be treated with levity by the relevant authorities.
He said, “Honourable Philip Olabode Aivoji is an elderly man of age and frail, to this end, we are using this opportunity to solicit your prayers and intervention in any way to facilitate his safe release from his abductors for a healthy reunion with his family.’’