Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen on Saturday abducted the External Auditor of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Zakari Sada, along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Sada, a former board member of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, was reportedly kidnapped with his driver.
The development came barely three days after the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, for three months over alleged embezzlement of funds.
The suspension was to pave the way for a thorough investigation at the NHIS.
It was gathered from family sources that Sada was travelling from Abuja to Kaduna when he was stopped by the kidnappers around Katari area at 4.30pm.
It was learnt that his family had been in contact with the kidnappers who demanded for an undisclosed ransom.
Sources said the suspected kidnappers opened fire on travellers along the Katari area during the abduction killing a woman.
An impeccable police source told one of our correspondents that the kidnap was perpetrated by a gang of herdsmen that have been terrorising motorists along the 200km highway in recent times.
The source said the police had arrested 17 suspects so far, adding that the victims would soon be rescued.
He said, “We received information on Saturday that a gang of armed herdsmen ambushed the NHIS auditor and dragged the man and his driver into a nearby bush. The suspects then put them on some motorcycles and fled.
“Investigation showed that about four gangs operate along that road. We have been able to smash two of the gangs and we have arrested 17 suspects.
“A combined team of policemen from both the Kaduna and Niger State command, soldiers and officials of the Department of State Services as well have been deployed along the 200km road.”
The police had last month deployed 600 personnel on the Abuja-Kaduna/ Zaria-Kano highways to curb the kidnappings along the highways.
When contacted, the acting Kaduna State police spokesman, Mustapha Mohammed, promised to find out and get back to our correspondent, but he never did.
The FCT police spokesman, Manzah Anjuguri, said the command had no report of the abduction.
But the Public Relations Officer of the NHIS, Mr. Odoh Onuh, said he had heard of the abduction but had no extra information.
“I heard about it but I don’t have much information,” he said.