A former Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam Assam, yesterday escaped death by the whiskers as gunmen stormed his residence in Calabar, shooting sporadically and daring him to come out.
Assam, who narrated the incident to Journalists in Calabar, suspected that the attackers might have been assassins and not kidnappers.
“I bought some drugs for my family at a pharmacy and came back at about 9pm and went to bed at about 11pm. At 2 am my colleague who visited me from Lagos raised an alarm that there were strange people in the compound that he saw some light behind the window. Instantly I hurried everybody into my bedroom and locked the doors.
“Just as I locked the second door, I heard a big bang on the door and the door burst open and just by the second door, bullets started flying past me through the door. I knew there was a problem, and then I got prepared as they started chiseling the door and banging, shouting at me to come and open the door or they will break it down. I started firing my flare gun to alert the security agencies to know where I was.
“At about 4 am we did not hear any noise again and by this time, I contacted my son-in-law while my neighbours reached out to security agencies. Later, the entire street was filled with policemen but nobody came into this house until some soldiers came and decided to force themselves into the premises.
“I know that they did not come to collect money from me because these people were seen trekking as they were coming so they could not have come to kidnap me. I can tell you taking cognisance of what we have seen, certainly they came for assassination.
But when contacted, spokesman for the Cross River state Police command, ASP Irene Ugbo, denied that there was an assassination attempt on Assam, saying “it is false, it is not true there was nothing like that.”
When informed that the incident took place at Old Ikang road and not State Housing, Ugbo said: “There was an incident of some people trying to cause trouble in that area, they did not go there for assassination because those boys were arrested and were questioned and the vehicle they used was even one of the governor’s registered vehicles.
“They were interrogated and arrested. It was just a misunderstanding between two persons like that. There was no shoot out at all and it happened last night.”