MRA headquarters burgled in Lagos
Window systems, documents, cash carted away
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA), headquarters in Lagos, was at the weekend burgled by yet-to-be identified intruders, who carted away office equipment such as window systems, laptops and other valuables worth millions of naira.
In a statement by the Head of MRA’s Legal Department, Obioma Okonkwo, yesterday, she described the incident as shocking and frightening attack on the organisation.
She said the organisation was still trying to determine whether the action was simply a robbery incident or a more sinister effort to cripple MRA’s operations or access its records and information since only laptop computers and other digital tools were taken away.
Okonkwo said: “The incident took place sometime between the evening of Saturday, January 21 and the following morning”, adding that “the intruders apparently gained access into the office, which is a detached two-storey building surrounded by a high perimeter brick fence, by climbing over a side fence into the compound, then cutting through the ceiling and smashing roofing material to enter one of the offices on the upper floor.”
According to her: “Robbers obviously could not breach the main door to the building on the ground floor, which is a reinforced security door, or any of the windows in the building, all of which are fitted with protectors made of iron rods, which was why they had to enter through the roof and ceiling.”
“The intruders took away nine laptop computers, external hard drives used by MRA to back up documents on its computers, Internet modems and routers, some documents and petty cash. The manner in which they gained access to the building and left could have constrained them in what they were able to remove from the office but that the organisation was not ruling out the possibility that they were not burglars and that their primary objective was MRA’s information and communication devices as there were many other valuable assets in the office that were not stolen”.
She said the incident has been reported at the Ojodu Police Station in Lagos, while the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) who heads the station has led a team of investigators to crime scene to gather evidence.
Okonkwo said: “Although it is not clear why our office was raided and what the motivation might have been, we are obviously concerned about the fact that such a large number of laptop computers as well as hard drives and other communication devices were taken while other valuable assets were left untouched.
Whatever the motive behind this attack on us, we will not relent in our work of promoting and defending media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information in Nigeria and elsewhere.”