Armed men on motorcycles invaded the headquarters of The Nation on Fatai Atere Way in Lagos on Wednesday afternoon, scared away security men on duty, poured petrol on the frontage of the building and set it ablaze, the editor of the newspaper has said.
Adeniyi Adesina said in a statement that the attackers arrived in a “commando-like manner,” and kicked their way into the premises brandishing sophisticated weapons.
“Some of the vehicles parked within the premises were set ablaze, others vandalised,” Mr Adesina said.
“Many boys came thereafter and swooped on the office, looting everything they could lay their hands on. These include desktop computers, laptops, air conditioners and other office equipment.”
The Nations’ sister media organisations, Television Continental and Max FM, were not spared in an attack which occurred simultaneously across the state in spite of a 24-hour curfew imposed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday.
The media organisations are believed to be owned by Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The attacks came hours after armed soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters camped at the Lekki toll gate, killing several people and injuring others.
At the time of the attack on The Nation, the newspaper’s Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, Victor Ifijeh, was among those trapped within the office while the fire raged on, according to Mr Adesina.
“They were evacuated when men of Operation Mesa security outfit arrived. Their arrival ended the free rein of the invaders. It was obviously a targeted attack on the free press.
“The Nation had been listed on Twitter and other social media platforms by sympathisers of the ongoing destructive activities, as a target of attack. The Nation has robustly reported the protests fairly, giving voice to the agitation of youths for a better Nigeria.
“The Management is at a loss as to why the company should be a target of such unwarranted attack,” Mr Adesina said.