A billboardacross the Lagos-Ibadan expressway at Ojodu district in Lagos.

A traditional ruler in Nigeria's commercial hub Lagos has been suspended indefinitely for faking his own kidnapping.

The Lagos State government's commissioner for local government and community affairs, Teslim Folami, said Chief Yusuf Ogundare, the Baale of Shangisha, was suspended "with immediate effect".

A baale is a traditional ruler in a community in southwest Nigeria. In Lagos, a baale is answerable to the Oba or king of Lagos.

Ogundare was said to have faked the kidnapping to embarrass the government and to implicate a rival traditional ruler in his community.

His younger brother had told police that some people pretending to buy land had kidnapped the baale on July 5, prompting an investigation.

Lagos police commissioner Fatai Owoseni said the traditional ruler was spotted on the evening of July 11, when he was dropped off near the state government offices in the Alausa area of Lagos.

Ogundare told officers he had been released but Owoseni said enquiries had revealed he had been seen "driving around" in a number of places outside Lagos at the time he was supposed to have been being held. "He was just on a frolic," he added.

Ogundare and his younger brother were both arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to stage the abduction.

Traditional rulers do not have formal political powers in Nigeria but still wield enormous influence because of their closeness to the grassroots.

Kidnapping for ransom is rampant in Nigeria's south. Most victims are released after only a few days once money is paid. In Lagos, six students seized from their school in the Igbonla area are still being held more than 50 days after their abduction.