An innocent cobbler lost his life Monday while a police man was wounded when yet to be identified gunmen stormed the Zaria family residence of the Vice President, Muhammad Namadi Sambo, located on Baba Ahmad Road in Tudun Wada, Zaria, Kaduna State, the presidency has confirmed.
Mallam Sani Umar, the Special Adviser to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, told THISDAY on telephone that the incident occurred when the gunmen came to the street where the family house of the Vice President is located and started to shoot sporadically into the air.
According to Umar: "When they exhausted their bullets the gunmen, who were fully engaged in a shootout with the security men on duty there resorted to using the butt of their guns as weapon. In the process they hit one policeman on the head injuring him slightly.
"The action is rather unfortunate. We value the lives and property of Nigerians. The life of every Nigerian is precious. So, we call on the gunmen that did this that the door of the federal government is open for dialogue."
He stressed that if any person or group of persons have any grievances they should feel free to approach the government, "so that it can be amicably resolved."
An eyewitness account corroborated the presidency's statement.
According to the eyewitness the attackers reached the area around 11:30am and immediately opened fire on the mobile policemen attached to the house.
"Three of them came on an old motorcycle and on arrival they opened fire on the policemen. The sporadic shooting led to the murder of a cobbler and one of the policemen was shot on the shoulder. The other policemen took cover in the house where they attempted to fire back because they were taken unawares.
"The gunmen came when the policemen were waiting for the cobbler to clean their shoes. The three attackers were all young men within the age bracket of between 20 and 28," Shehu Tsoho Zazzau, an eyewitness told reporters.
This is the second time since 2011 that the Zaria residence of the Vice President is being attacked. It was razed by an angry mob during the post 2011 election riots.
As at the time of the attack Monday the security personnel drafted to the house were securing the premises as renovation work continued apace.