The Lagos State Police Command Friday expressed optimism that a yet-to-be identified Briton abducted on Wednesday along the Murtala Mohammed Airport Road would soon be rescued going by the leads at their disposal.
The Joint Task Force in Borno, Operation Restore Order, also said Friday it had dislodged the extremist Boko Haram group from Jajeri, Bulabilin Ngaranam and Faluja areas of Maiduguri.
The British national was said to have been abducted by gunmen shortly after leaving the Lagos airport, which was confirmed by Wale Adebayo, the spokesman of the Deputy British High Commission in Lagos.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos Police Command, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who spoke to THISDAY on the phone Friday, confirmed the incident and said investigations was ongoing.
She said: “When the information filtered in, the state Commissioner of Police, detailed a crack team of investigators to unravel the incident and rescue the victim from the clutches of his abductors.
“As I speak to you now, we are on the matter and I believe that he would soon be rescued but I don’t want to go into details for security reasons so as not to jeopardise the case.”
THISDAY however gathered that the kidnappers had already made contact with friends and family of the victim and demanded for ransom running into millions of dollars.
Although Braide refused to divulge how much was demanded as ransom, again for security reasons, she however confirmed that the kidnappers had made contact for negotiation.
Police sources also told THISDAY that the kidnappers had threatened to keep their victim in their hideout if any attempt was made to involve the police.
Earlier reports said the kidnappers had first opened fire on the vehicle conveying the Briton to his destination, injuring the driver and then abducting their victim.
A statement by the British High Commission said: "The British High Commission is working closely with others to secure the release of the hostage and because of the nature of this incident; the British High Commission is not going into further detail about it."
The Political and Press Officer of the British High Commission in Abuja, Mr. Robert Fitzpatrick also confirmed the development to THISDAY in a telephone conversation.
He added that the commission is working closely with Nigerian authorities to ensure his release.
"We are aware that there is a missing British citizen and we are working with the Nigerian government on this. I do not have more details at the moment," he said.
JTF officials while conducting Governor Kashim Shettima round the recovered areas said the houses abandoned in the communities in the wake of the insurgency were converted into a hiding place by terrorists and connected by tunnels to create an easy escape route.
The task force equally said the quality of weapons recovered from the area were an indication that the sect had foreign sponsorship.
During a visit to the affected communities, carcasses of human beings killed by the insurgents were seen all over the area.
After rooting out the terrorists, the affected communities of Bulabilin Ngarannam, Jajeri and Falluja are now occupied by the military and volunteer vigilante groups even as both the JTF and the vigilante group have made an appeal to fleeing residents to return to their houses, insisting that normalcy had been restored.