One dies, others injured as customs, smugglers clash in Ogun

By Demola Akinyemi

Gunmen who kidnapped a retired Deputy Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service, Mohammed Zarma on his fish farm in Ilorin, Kwara state capital have released him on Monday evening, after an alleged payment of N6M ransom.

The retired top Customs officer was said to have been kidnapped on his farm at Okejia in  Egbejila,  Asa Local government area of Kwara last week Thursday.

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

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.

“The kidnappers initially demanded for N10M for his release from his wife, but after much pleading, they agreed on  N6M after which he was released “said the source.

Zarma, according to findings by Vanguard from a reliable source  was overpowered by the gunmen who caught him unaware on his farm as several gunshots were reportedly fired into the air to scare him and neighbours around before he was abducted.

The gunmen who reportedly trekked to the farm with dangerous weapons such as Ak47, “took the man away by trekking through the bush”.

The retired Customs officer, according to a reliable  source was said to be recuperating in a private hospital in Ilorin as a result of the trauma  suffered from the abduction.

An earlier statement by the PPRO on the development, said that 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”.

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 that 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 also 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.

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

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