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Obafemi Martins escapes gun attack in Lagos

Posted by Sun News Publishing on 2007/06/25 | Views: 1040 |

Obafemi Martins escapes gun attack in Lagos

Newcastle and Nigeria striker, Obafemi Martins, on Monday night escaped death by the whiskers after a gang of masked gunmen fired at his car in Lagos.

Newcastle and Nigeria striker, Obafemi Martins, on Monday night escaped death by the whiskers after a gang of masked gunmen fired at his car in Lagos.

The 22-year-old Super Eagles striker encountered the masked gunmen hours after his return to Nigeria from Niger Republic, where he had featured in a Nations Cup qualifier against that country.

Lucky Martins escaped unhurt but his friend who was identified as Remi Onipede was injured in the sporadic gun attack, which left his Mercedes Benz car badly riddled with bullets.

He told journalists in London that he was lucky to have escaped unhurt from the gunmen, but added that: "For a moment, I thought I was going to die as they kept shooting at my car indiscriminately. They shot indiscriminately and tried to kill all the occupants of the car. They werenít there to rob me but to finish me off.

"They executed it like professional hired assassins; they didnít say anything to me but just started shooting at the car. It was hell. I was dead in my heart and soul. It all happened like in the movies.
"Those guys wanted me dead, they had no intention of sparing anyone in the car. They were not robbers because after the shooting they left without taking anything from the car.

"I thank God that my friend survived. It was like a movie, but I thank God I'm alive to tell the story.
Daily Sun learnt that the incident occurred at a petrol station at the Victoria Garden City (VGC) area, where Martins had stopped to buy fuel.

The visibly-shaken striker, it was gathered, has now flown to Italy and is now showing reluctance to return to Nigeria for any international engagement after the incident.
He said: "My mother is scared they could come back again. She almost passed out when she saw the car. She just kept asking who wants me dead. I don't feel safe here anymore, I donít think I want to return so fast. I came home to play for my country and spend my holidays with my friends and family. This is not what I expected.
"I think people will now understand why some players don't feel comfortable coming back to Nigeria from Europe.

"I came home for the game against Niger because I wanted to play for my country and make the people happy. A lot of things are wrong with the system in Nigeria and when you are helpless, you need to go and hide somewhere.

"I was born in Lagos. I am a Lagosian, but when I don't feel safe in my hometown, then something must be wrong. It's a great thing to play for your country, put smiles on the faces of people and also feel safe among your family and fans.

"But when the situation gets out of hand, I don't think coming home is something I can contemplate."
The player, who is now recovering in Italy, said: "I didnít know their mission but they looked scary and mean. My nerves were completely dead when I saw the guns."
The terrified Magpies ace said he tried to reverse his car to get away but was blocked by another car parked behind him.

The gang did not steal the car and Martins now believes their motive could have been murder ó as payback for him missing a recent international ó rather than robbery.
He said: "If you are attacked by armed robbers, they only threaten you and take whatever they want but these guys were only after my life. How I managed to escape is still shocking and unbelievable. Maybe someone up there loves me more than I could imagine because only he could explain what happened."

Martins is not the only Europe-based footballer to be attacked by unknown gunmen in recent weeks.
Benjamin Onwuachi of Greek side Ionikos, Femi Ajilore of Danish club, Midtjylland as well as Romania-based Ifeanyi Emeghara were all attacked while on holiday in Lagos.

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