Customs Officer Kidnapped In Zamfara As Terrorists Demand N10m Ransom
A senior officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mahassan Lawali, has been kidnapped by bandit terrorists in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Naija News learned Lawali, an accountant at the Kano–Jigawa Command of the Service, was kidnapped last week Friday during an invasion of the town by bandits loyal to notorious banditry kingpin, Ada Aleru.
The bandits reportedly surrounded Lawali’s house before kidnapping him in the presence of his wife and children, who came to spend the weekend in the town.
In a chat with Premium Times, the victim’s younger brother, Salim Tsafe, said the bandits released his friend who stays in the same house with his brother’s family while they took away his brother.
He said: “Three of them went into the main house and abducted him. A friend who lives there was tied down by the bandits and had all his phone taken away from him but when they brought Alhaji, they released my friend and went with Alhaji.”
Tsafe disclosed that the bandits have contacted the family to demand N10 million as a ransom for his brother, saying that his immediate elder brother has been in contact with the bandits since Friday.
“When they took him, they called immediately to demand ransom. But they said once they mentioned the amount, no one should negotiate with them because they know he is rich. In fact, one of the bandits was saying they know Alhaji has over N100 million in his account.
“So, we pleaded with them to tell us the amount and they said N10 million. We pleaded with them but they insisted that we have a lot of money and that we should not be negotiating because they were being reasonable,” he said.
He, however, said the bandits were livid when their eldest brother negotiating with them said they could afford N5 million as a ransom for their brother.
“They have switched off their phones since morning when we told them we would pay N5 million. Some people said they (bandits) would call us back. For now, we have resorted to praying for God to help us and save him. We don’t have the N10 million they are mentioning.”
Also speaking on the incident, a resident of the area, Abubakar Bala, said the bandits invaded the town to kidnap the customs officer, adding that Lawali was whisked away to an unknown destination.
He, however, revealed that the criminals attacked the town around 9pm on Friday, wondering how the criminals beat the security checkpoints at that time.
“They didn’t shoot anyone during the attack but some of them fired several shots in the air obviously to scare residents. He (Mr Lawali) was picked up at his house around 9 p.m.
“It is surprising how they could beat the security checkpoints and reach the main town a few minutes after nine; it shows no one is secured,” he said.
As of the time of filing this report, the police command spokesperson in the state, Mohammed Shehu, has yet to react to the abduction of the customs officer.