Efforts are being made to secure the release of Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (retd.) who was abducted on Monday by masked gunmen.
According to The PUNCH, five police teams have been set up to rescue Smith who was abducted at a site in the Ajah area of Lagos State.
A senior police source, who spoke to PUNCH Metro, said the team consisted of two marine special operatives and three special land operatives.
She stated that the team had been given a timeline to rescue the retired officer, adding that efforts were on to mobilise operatives from the Force headquarters, Abuja, to assist in the operation.
“The team is being coordinated by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, and they have been given a timeline to rescue him,” the source said.
Sikiru, who is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, was whisked away in a waiting speedboat.
Our correspondents gathered that the gunmen shot continuously during the attack.
In a frantic effort to alarm the public about the abduction, his driver, one Corporal Odiji, recorded an SOS voice note which was shared online.
“This is an emergency; I am Corporal Odiji attached to Air Vice Marshal Smith. They just abducted him from the site where we were working. Some gunmen who were wearing masks just came and snatched my boss now.
“They shot everywhere. I was near where I was fixing my boss’ vehicle. As I was coming, I saw them leaving in a boat but I wasn’t armed, so I just ran to the site and I saw his glasses and where he struggled with them. Please pass this information. It is an emergency,” he said.
When asked about the progress on Sikiru’s rescue operation, the state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, said, “We are on it, we are making concerted efforts; we will give you details later.”
The Force Police Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, vowed that the victim would be rescued.
He said, “We are aware of that unfortunate incident and we are working hard to make sure we crack that crime to rescue the man unhurt and reunite him with his family.
“We will spare no human or material resources in investigating the matter; we will do all we can operationally and humanly to make sure we crack that crime as quickly as possible.
“It is an ongoing investigation and I will not do the victim or the family members and loved ones or the investigators themselves who are working round the clock to solve the crime, and even the society generally, any service divulging the details of what we are doing moving forward. But at the right time, we will talk to Nigerians on that matter.”
The retired general is currently the Chairman of Double Wealth Ventures Limited – a dredging and engineering firm.
Sikiru, who was a guest on The PUNCH Roundtable recently, advocated the use of drones in security surveillance and military offensives in the country to curb the use of military jets.