A Nigerian traditional chief in the state of Lagos has been suspended after he confessed to faking his own kidnap. Lagos state Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the incident was “an embarrassment to the state”.
He said in a statement that investigations had found that Chief Yusuf Ogundare had conspired with his family to frame a rival chief for the disappearance. Kidnappings for ransom are common in southern Nigeria.
The governor ordered the chief to stop performing his chieftain duties immediately – to “stop parading [yourself] as Baale of Shangisha with immediate effect”. Chief Ogundare was reported to have been kidnapped on 5 July and released by his captors six days later
His brother, Mohammed Adams, who was paraded alongside him after their arrest, had reported Chief Ogundare missing and alleged that they had both been kidnapped by people who wanted to sell land to the chief.
Eye-witnesses told police that they had seen the chief “frolicking” around the south-western cities of Ibadan and Ilorin. According to the governor’s statement, the chief’s alleged captors dropped him off in the Alausa area on 11 July in a “suspicious manner”, alerting police who were on patrol in the area to investigate the matter.
Kidnappings have been on the rise in Nigeria. The BBC’s Didi Akinyelure in Lagos notes that police recently celebrated the arrest of a kidnapping kingpin but in another high-profile case, a group of children abducted more than six weeks ago have yet to be released.