Mark Odigie, an information technologist and husband of Tope, a co-host of TVC’s show ‘Your View’, says arsonists who attacked the media company’s building came with the intention to destroy and not to kill.
In a statement, he narrated his encounter with the mob and how he dared the consequences to save his wife who was trapped inside the building.
Odigie said he drove his wife to the company’s head office at Ketu on Wednesday morning during the 24-hour curfew imposed by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor.
The night before, soldiers had fired at unarmed protesters at the Lekki tollgate causing rage and widespread condemnation. “So I decided to drive her to the office, leaving our two nine-year-old kids at home,” he said.
Odigie said since the programme is scheduled to end by 11:00 am, he stayed at the car park inside his Mazda CX-9 SUV waiting to take his wife back home.
But while waiting, a mob attacked the building sending security operatives and staff of the company into a race for their life.
He said the young men armed with dangerous weapons such as machetes, axes, knifes, sticks and petrol bombs, invaded the compound through its gate that leads to Aladelola street in Ketu.
Odigie said he watched as the building, his car and other vehicles were set ablaze. He described the arsonists as too “sophisticated attackers to be called miscreants”.
“I couldn’t call these guys miscreants. They were pretty much educated, and spoke good English. They were very organised, and chanted; No killing, just destroy, we have our targets,” he narrated.
“It was at that point that I began to wonder what was really going on. They were very clear about what they came for.”
Odigie said his wife and her colleague, Morayo Afolabi-Brown, and a few technical officers including cameramen, were in the studio and the soundproofing in the studio prevented them from sniffing danger hovering around them.
The information technologist said he was concerned about saving his wife and he approached the police officers who gathered at CMD road for help, but they refused.
“Suddenly, I developed a heart of stone and decided to go in because I wanted to rescue my wife. I felt whatever that would happen should happen. So I begged a few TVC workers who were also standing at the CMD gate, to join me. About five of them summoned courage and agreed to go in with me. Some ladies kept shouting and were crying as if we were going to die,” he said.
“So we went in, and saw hundreds of the attackers. They shouted at us asking us who we were. We raised our hands and simply replied; “We are with you.” We told them our colleagues were still in there. And surprisingly, they listened to us. They told us they already rescued everybody. They said they were not interested in killing anyone.”
“So they took us to the back where we met another crowd who were throwing petrol bombs and chanting “no killing, no killing.” As soon as we were brought before them the crowd charged at us, but one of them that led us there quickly took charge and explained what happened.”
He said the attackers had rescued his wife and her colleague as they took them to Oshonaike community, near the station, where both his wife and her colleague were kept.
At Oshonaike community, the residents took custody of them for the next five hours “until they said the coast was clear for us to move, and we were led out of the community to a path leading to Magodo”.
He said the phone of Afolabi-Brown which was seized during the attack was later returned to her.
Odigie said the management of both the television and the radio stations have since taken stock of the damage — with a total of 44 vehicles burnt; four outside broadcasting (OB) vans, three production control rooms, two master control room (MCR) studio play-out machines, completely burnt.
The station is now back in operation.