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Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Commends Security Agencies for Safe Release of Fouani Brothers

MAN has called on the government to address the increasing incidents of kidnapping, highlighting the threats posed to economic growth.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commended the security agencies for the safe release of Managing Director of the Fouani Group, Mr. Mohamed Fouani and his brothers.

This was as the Lagos police command revealed that its operatives rescued the three abducted Fouani brothers.

On June 14, three brothers identified as Abbas Fouani, Youssef Fouani, and Amtal Fouani, were reportedly abducted around 6 pm in Lagos. They were kidnapped while returning from their factory by boat. Their company, Fouani Nigeria Ltd, is Nigeria’s sole distributor of LG, Hisense, and Maxi products.

On Monday, the police said it was working “tirelessly” to ensure that the victims were released. The victims, including the boat driver and his assistant, were released Monday night.

Reacting to the development, the Director General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, in a statement on Tuesday, stated: “We are glad that the efforts of the security agencies paid off and yielded results without casualties among the victims.

“MAN also extends its solidarity and hearty felicitation to the family and colleagues of the managing director over the release.

“The association remains concerned about the safety and well-being of its members and will continue to collaborate with authorities to address security challenges facing the operators in the manufacturing sector in particular and the nation in general.”

The association, however, urged the governments to tackle the rising cases of kidnapping and insecurity in the country, which it stated, “poses a significant threat to the business community and overall economic development of Nigeria.”

It added that if the trend was not checked, it, “will erode investor confidence in the economy and further jeopardise the efforts of the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at repositioning the economy for growth.”

According to MAN, the incident left the entire manufacturing community shocked and concerned about the safety of its chief executives and its workforce.

The director general said the association, on receiving the news of the unfortunate incident, frantically made contact with relevant authorities, including security agencies, to express its deep concerns and to reaffirm its confidence in the ability of the agencies to briskly bring an end to the nightmare. 

Meanwhile, the Lagos police command revealed that its operatives have rescued the three abducted Fouani brothers.

Confirming their release via a WhatsApp chat, Lagos State police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, said the feat was achieved by the Lagos Marine police with support from the navy.

Hundeyin said the victims have since been taken to their residence.

He said, “They were rescued late last night in Orugbo Iddo. Our marine police with the support of the Nigerian Navy brought them to shore. After that, our tactical team in the area took them home on Banana Island in the early hours of today (Tuesday).”

He revealed that five people were rescued, including the “three Lebanese brothers, the boat captain and his assistant.”

As of the time of filing in this story, it is yet unconfirmed if any ransom was paid before news of their rescue.

But contrary to claims by Hundeyin, allegations emerged on Tuesday, that the kidnapped victims were abandoned by their kidnappers.

A social media post by @masudayeola on X revealed that the Fouani brothers were abandoned at Ebute-Oriba village, Epe LG, Lagos State, hours before the police announced their rescue.

The post read: “@BenHundeyin @PoliceNG Sir, three kidnapped expatriates and 2 indigenes were just dumped at Ebute-Oriba, Epe LG as of this evening. Please they are still there as of writing. This is a cry for rescue.”

In the pictures and videos shared by the X user, no police officers were in sight. This contradicted the police’s claim of a successful rescue operation.

The eye witness further alleged that local community members discovered the victims and took them to the Oloja of Epe’s palace, where they were handed over to the police around 2 am.

The sources revealed that it’s unclear whether the naval tactical squad played a role in the rescue or if a ransom was paid to the kidnappers, but the freed hostages, including the three Fouani brothers and two Nigerians, were found in a boat in the creeks and were later taken to their apartment on Banana Island by police officers on Tuesday.

“The Fouani brothers, aged 37, 40, and 29, were unharmed during their captivity.”

Dike Onwuamaeze and Sunday Ehigiator

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