NIGERIA — Gunmen, in the early hours of yesterday, stormed the Okota, Lagos residence of the Deputy Managing Director of The Sun Newspapers, Mr Steve Nwosu and abducted his wife, Toyin.
Vanguard was reliably informed that the abductors had established contact with the distraught Nwosu at about 4p.m. and demanded N100 million before his wife would be released.
The gunmen, numbering about seven as gathered, stormed Bale Street in Ogundiaro Bashorun Sunmonu Akanwo Estate, Okota at about 1a.m. They were said to have gained entrance into a building close to Nwosu’s house with the aid of an abandoned ladder used to paint the building. But on sighting them, owner of the building was said to have scaled the fence to another street, where he sought refuge.
Mrs Toyin Nwosu and Steve Nwosu
Thereafter, they stormed Nwosu’s bungalow building by scaling the transformer fence and pulled the iron grille (burglar-proof) on the window, before gaining entrance into the sitting room.
The sound from the window apparently woke up Nwosu, who left his bedroom to ascertain where it was coming from, only to be accosted by three gun-wielding men who ordered him to lie flat.
Narrating his ordeal to Vanguard, Nwosu said: “I thought the sound was coming from another place. I went to the toilet, put off the light and peeped through the window. It was then I heard a bang in the sitting room. By the time I came out, they had jumped in and pointed the gun at me. I raised up my hands because, as a matter of policy I do not argue with anyone with a gun. They started slapping and kicking me and at the same time asked: ”Where is the money?
“I told them I had no money in the house which was true but they did not believe me. They continued beating me with a horse whip and asked if my wife had no money as well. I said I would not know, that the only money she should have was a cheque of N50 ,000 I gave to her to get some things in the house.
At that moment my children who slept in the sitting room after watching television started screaming. They took them into one room, locked them up and came back for me. They marched my wife and I round the rooms, ransacking the whole place. They demanded for her jewelry. After searching and finding nothing, one of them said, ‘Mopol, let us go, we are wasting so much time.’
At that point, I was blindfolded and taken outside. But they brought me back inside and asked my wife to get dressed while I was still blindfolded.
The next thing I heard were sporadic gunshots outside, followed by shouts of Ole! It was at that point I knew they had left. The first person I asked after was my wife, who was nowhere to be found. I went into the room where my children were locked and found them. The operation lasted thirty minutes. They came in at about 1.50 am and left after 2am. I rushed outside and was told that they went away in a motor boat through the canal. I was told that about four of them were outside with guns while three came inside,” he stated.
The gunmen apparently had a field day as they reportedly went away with assorted drinks from the shelf. Nwosu also disclosed that they went away with some perfumes, two I-pads and three phones.
But before leaving, one of them was said to have told him to contact them on one of his (Nwosu) phones that was taken away, adding that they were on their way to Maiduguri.
Nwosu however said he suspected that the gunmen were robbers. “I think it was robbery that was taken a step too far because they also robbed a building. But you cant go to a journalist’s house and expect to get money. They may assume one has money on seeing this bungalow but they don’t know how one struggled to to build it.
He also disclosed that “robbers have been to my house last year and they were lucky because it happened a few hours after my wife’s birthday. So all the money and gifts people gave her was in the house and they took them. But this time around, there was no money in the house.
“They have established contact with me and said they would get back. My appeal is for them to release my wife for me. She does not have any money.”
Area commander visits
Immediately news of the incident reached the Police, the Area ‘E’ Commander, Festac, Mr Frank Mba, reportedly visited the scene with other policemen. During the visit, some private guards, as reliably gathered by Vanguard were arrested. The private guards according to Police sources were arrested for holding one of the residents whose apartment was raided hostage without informing the police.
By Evelyn Usman