By Chiemelie Ezeobi
About five suspected gunmen yesterday attacked the Lagos home of Vanguard Newspaper Publisher, Mr. Sam Amuka, injuring him and carting away some valuables, including an undisclosed amount of money.
Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, a superintendent of police, confirmed to THISDAY that “the command received a distress call about the robbery in the early hours of the morning and quickly mobilized its men and proceeded to the area to intervene. But our movement was hampered by the difficulties encountered in accessing the gates to the particular area where the robbery was taking place.
“When we eventually gained access, the robbers had left. The commander rescued the victim and evacuated him to the hospital where he is currently recuperating. We have commenced investigations beginning with the interrogation of the domestic staff. We received a hint that the victim was billed to travel and had possibly withdrawn some undisclosed sum of money for the trip which may have been the target of the robbers.
“We also learnt that three years ago a similar attack on the victim occurred when he was billed to travel and had withdrawn some money for the purpose. We want to assure you that we would leave no stone unturned to get to the root of this matter and bring the culprits to book,” she assured last night.
When THISDAY visited his residence, it was learnt that Amuka, who was seriously manhandled by the suspected gunmen had gone to an undisclosed hospital for x-ray. It was also reliably gathered that yesterday’s incident was the fourth attack on his Anthony Village area home in recent times.
Although there were private security guards stationed in his house, the gunmen were able to first subdue them before making entrance into the house.
It was gathered that the gang had gained access into the house by scaling the fence before moving to incapacitate the security guards.
They were said to have first tied both guards up before they also blindfolded them and left them in the company of one of the armed men.
The other four were said to have gained entrance into the main house by cutting off the burglary on one of the windows, after which they broke into the ceiling leading to Amuka’s bedroom.
Upon gaining entrance, they confronted the publisher and repeatedly asked him to bring out the money or they will kill him off.
When he couldn’t bring out the supposed money they were asking for, the gunmen, who were communicating amongst themselves in Hausa, all began man handling and battering him with dangerous objects.
After ransacking his room and making away with some valuables, they were said to have left about 45 minutes later after they untied the guards and ordered them to unlock the main gate, before they zoomed off in an ash coloured car.
Amuka was later rushed to a private hospital, where he is still receiving treatment
When alerted, the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Commander, Tunde Disu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), stormed the scene with a team of policemen.
Initial attempts to chase the robbers proved abortive as all the gates leading to Amuka’s residence were all shut.
It was gathered that it took the effort of the Anthony Village Divisional Police Officer, Chima Agha, a Superintendent of Police (SP), to clear the way but by then the gang had fled by then.
Afterwards, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, who arrived at the scene with Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations, Mr Edgar Imohimi, assured that they were at the tail of the gunmen.
The police detectives who came with the RRS commander later gathered the guards and other domestic staff for questioning.
The police also deployed some heavily armed operatives stationing them both at Amuka’s house and the private hospital, where he is undergoing treatment.
However, as at press time, THISDAY gathered from police sources that although five men went for the robbery, they were able to arrest 10 persons with possible links to the robbery.
The suspects, it was also gathered, have been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja, following a directive from the Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase.