Less than 24 hours to Christmas celebration, former Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola was on Tuesday afternoon abducted in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
He was, however, rescued hours later by the state police command.
Ogun State Police Command said it rescued the ex-CAN President at Ijoga Price in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Muyiwa Adejobi told our correspondent in Abeokuta that, the rescue operation was like a war that lasted two hours.
Adejobi said, men of Nigeria Police and the gang engaged in gun duel for hours before the cleric was rescued.
He said: “It was a war because before we could rescue the old man. We found out that, apart from the man and his driver, one of his children was there.
“We have 10 teams of policemen that participated in the rescue operation. Three of the teams were escorting the victims to their house. And the remaining teams are still there in the bush because the place is wide.”
When asked if it was a case of kidnapping, Adejobi said it would be too early to conclude, saying the command would find out from the victims during interrogation.
The 69-year-old cleric was reportedly waylaid by unknown gunmen at about 3:00 pm, in front of the main entrance of the Peter Akinola Foundation Centre for Youth Industrial Training at Kilometre 10, Abeokuta-Lagos expressway and seized him with his driver, whose name could not be ascertained at press time.
A source close to the retired primate told our correspondent that Akinola was returning from the youth training centre where he had gone to inspect some ongoing projects.
The abductors reportedly blocked the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) conveying the cleric and started shooting into the air before he was taken away in his vehicle.
This was coming barely 24 hours after the state government boosted the security sector with 50 additional patrol vans.
At the ceremony, the governor had sounded warning to criminals to stay away from the state, particularly at the border areas as there would be no hiding place for them.
The centre where Akinola was kidnapped is meant to train youths in various technical and vocational skills free of charge.