Properties worth two million naira including nine laptops, hard drives and other equipment were carted away when unknown burglars broke into the office of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in Lagos.
MRA, a non-governmental platform that defends media freedom and access to information says the invasion took place over the weekend.
In a statement signed by its communication officer, Idowu Adewale, on Monday, MRA’s Head of Legal Department, Ms. Obioma Okonkwo, described the incident “shocking and frightening.”
Okonkwo said MRA 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 and equipment were taken away.
She explained that the incident took place sometime between the evening of Saturday and Sunday morning where the intruders gained access into the office, climbing over a side fence and cutting through the ceiling to enter one of the offices on the upper floor.
Okonkwo noted that the intruders also took away external hard drives used by MRA, Internet modems and routers, some documents and petty cash, noting that the organization 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.
“Although it is not clear why our office was raided and what the motivation might have been,” she said. “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.”
She continued: “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.”
However, MRA says it has reported the incident to the police.