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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Martins escapes horror gun attack
Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Obafemi Martins and the bullet-riddled windscreen of his Mercedes
Martins is contemplating his international future after the attack

Newcastle and Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins escaped uninjured after being shot at while driving in Lagos.

The Magpies striker was attacked by masked gunmen on Monday night, hours after he returned home from Nigeria's Nations Cup qualifier against Niger.

The 22-year-old escaped unhurt but a friend was injured after his Mercedes was sprayed with bullets.

"For a moment I thought I was going to die as they kept shooting at my car indiscriminately," said Martins.

My mother is scared and I don't feel safe in Nigeria anymore

Obafemi Martins

"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."

The incident occurred at a petrol station in VGC, a suburb of Lagos, where Martins had stopped to buy fuel.

The visibly shaken striker has now flown to Italy and is reluctant to return to Nigeria for international duty after the incident.

"My mother is scared they could come back again. I don't feel safe here anymore.

"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."

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.

"A lot of things are wrong with the system in Nigeria and when you are helpless you need to go and hide somewhere," added Martins.

"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."



SEE ALSO
Nigeria clinch Group Three
19 Jun 07 |  African
Martins tipped to be 'superstar'
17 Jan 07 |  African
Martins completes Newcastle move
24 Aug 06 |  Newcastle United


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