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British national kidnapped at gunpoint in Nigeria

Car sprayed with bullets after victim left Lagos International Airport

A British national was last night being held hostage after he was kidnapped at gun point in Nigeria.

The man’s car was sprayed with bullets after being ambushed on Tuesday night shorty after leaving Lagos International Airport, authorities revealed yesterday. It is understood he was returned to a residential district of Nigeria’s largest city where kidnappings are comparatively rare.

His Nigerian driver survived despite being shot during the attack around 8.30pm local time, according to Reuters.

The British High Commission said diplomats were “working closely” with the authorities to secure his release. A spokesman said it was hoping for an effective resolution but “could not go into further detail” because of the “nature of this incident”. A spokesman for the British Consulate in Lagos said more details about the attack could not be revealed because of the “sensitive nature” of the issue.

Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for kidnappings, a lucrative criminal enterprise worth millions of dollars a year. Abductions are most rife in the oil states, but are rarer in Lagos where many foreigners live safely.

Many cases are not reported because of fears for the safety of the hostages although the authorities suggest that most are released unharmed after ransoms have been paid. Some have been injured and killed if they resist, however.

A British businessman was kidnapped in March in an upmarket district of Nigeria’s commercial capital but was released four days later.

The man was abducted at around 11pm while on his way home from a nightclub in the high-end residential and business neighbourhood of Victoria. It was not clear if a ransom was paid.

In Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, kidnappings of foreigners for ideological motives by Islamist groups have taken a deadlier turn. The Islamist group Ansaru killed seven foreign hostages in March, authorities from some of the affected countries said.

Foreign nationals were targeted in the affluent Lagos areas of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Epe-Lekki, sparking speculation that organised criminal gangs have renewed their focus on the city’s upscale districts given their relatively permissive security environments,” the consultancy said.

Risk analysts Drum Cussac have reported “a noticeable upsurge” in the number of kidnappings in the southwest of Nigeria including Lagos.