Gunmen attacked the residence of Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) Resource Centre, a statement said on Tuesday.
HEDA’s secretary, Sulaimon Arigbabu, said the incident happened around 2.15 a.m. on Monday.
Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, established in 2001, is a Nigerian nonprofit promoting accountability, responses to climate change and food security, and other issues through policy advocacy, training, and research.
The development comes weeks after Mr Suraju’s arraignment by the federal government for alleged cyberstalking of a former Attorney-General of the Federation.
The gunmen “carted away 5 phones including 1 Samsung phone, 2 iPhones, 2 iPads; 2 Macbook pro laptops, a Dell laptop, a Toyota Corolla 2014 car, pieces of jewellery, ATM cards, cars keys, Bank Tokens, office documents among other valuables belonging to Mr Suraju and his family,” the statement read.
“The assailants who were heavily armed with guns, knives and other dangerous weapons also threatened to kill Mr Suraju, physically hit him and his wife both of whom had to be hospitalised.”
Mr Arigbabu said the armed men breached the estate’s security and burgled the security features in his house with sophisticated tools.
“Currently, both the intent and the extent of the damage cannot be fully estimated yet,” Mr Arigbabu said.
“The assailants, who invaded only Mr Suraju’s home out of other 220 buildings in the estate, collected all valuable items in the house and coerced Mr Suraju to provide all his security details including phone passwords, bank log-in details, laptops passwords, among others.
“The assailants then immediately gained access to his email, phone numbers including WhatsApp and other messaging platforms as well as bank platforms.
Mr Arigbabu said the unidentified gunmen deleted some of the CCTV footage through Mr Suraju’s phone before the camera was switched off by the family.
He said the incident had been reported at the police station.
He added that it is important to “alert members of the public and all friends, families and well-wishers of the Surajus and HEDA not to act on any solicitation or strange broadcast/emails purportedly from Mr and Mrs Suraju. Any such message should be discountenanced for now.
The group described the attack as “shocking and traumatizing” for the family and the organisation.
They also expressed worry that the invasion may not be unconnected with the anti-corruption work of Mr Suraju.
“It is no news that corrupt elements both within and outside the government have continuously conspired to persecute the organisation and its Chairman, Mr Suraju, for blowing whistles and exposing perpetrators of various acts of grand corruption against Nigeria.
“Therefore, considering that the assailants did not only steal and inflict injury, they also threatened to kill Mr Suraju, but this attack may also be another dimension to the persecution of Mr Suraju by the corrupt individuals especially since all previous attempts to bring him down have failed.”
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