A gang of armed robbers who invaded Imperial Hotel, Ebute Meta, Lagos robbed Funke Akindele. According to reports, the actress was lodged at the hotel with some members of her family owing and crew of Omo Ghetto 2. The Jenifa star and the other victims have since the incident been counting their losses while thanking God they lived to tell the story.
The actress informed via a text message that “I was not almost raped, no dollar was taken (from me)”.
On Omo Ghetto 2, she said, “We are through with the shoots”. ?Obviously still shaken from the incident, she added, “I don’t want to dwell on that (robbery) anymore. I thank God I’m alive”. The robbers who shot into the air several times to scare away anybody who might harbour any heroic ideas. The gang first raided a two-storey building besides Imperial before entering the hotel. Eyewitnesses said they gained entrance after successfully cutting off the electric barbwires that surrounded the building. Those present when the incident took place said they suspected the robbers were after Jenifa, as the actress has come to be addressed in movie circles because they knew she was around. “As they came in, they started asking of Funke Akindele but our staff repeatedly told them she wasn’t in the hotel. They then broke into the rooms and dispossessed other customers of their belongings including phones and cash before they eventually found Funke,” a source at the hotel who pleaded anonymity, said. The Glo ambassador who had just concluded shooting The Return of Jenifa lost a substantial amount of money to the hoodlums.
“The total sum of money the robbers left the hotel with was over N2 million. They even took some customer’s international passports,” the source added. As the saga raged, one of the victims raised alarm via a text message which read, “Armed robbers are at Imperial Hotel, Lagos Street by Health Center, Ebute Meta. Help.” In no time, the message had assumed a viral nature, as it became a hot item on blackberry messages and twitter.
As they departed, the robbers smashed Akindele’s Nissan X-Trail jeep, her mother’s Honda CR-V and her marketer’s Range Rover, which were all parked in the hotel premises.
The police eventually arrived. By then the robbers had left. It was a familiar script as robbers have turned Ebute Meta into a terror zone almost on a nightly base.
“This is neither the first nor second time that these robbers would be terrorising this neighbourhood in the past few weeks. They robbed Ogogo, a fellow Yoruba movie actor’s house down this street few weeks ago but luckily the actor was admitted in the hospital at the time. We reported to the police to beef up security in the area but they never made any effort to do so. How will the police respond when they are not clean themselves,” an insider furiously lamented.
This is not the first ordeal the actress will face in the hands of the men of the night. On Sunday, October 17, 2010, dare devil armed robbers, robbed the star actress at gunpoint in the Ojodu area of Lagos. The actress was returning home from a visit and was in the car with some people when the armed men double-crossed her car and demanded that she handed over her valuables or risk being shot. The actress, it was learnt, promptly obeyed and gave her Blackberry phones and a bag full of money.
Displaying a sense of humour, one of the armed men who recognised her reportedly threw a bundle of N50,000 into the car saying, “Jenifa, use that one to take care of yourself”. She was said to have been visibly shaken after the encounter and left the venue thanking God that her life was spared.
A close aide of the actress revealed then that the actress went into a state of shock, lamenting the loss of enormous contacts and an undisclosed amount of money. The actress had to postpone the premiere of her highly anticipated movie, Omo Ghetto, which was to take place at the National Arts Theatre on October 24. Funke Akindele is not just a popular face in the Nigerian movie industry, but also can be described as one of its most grounded actresses. Her career as an actress took off as a teenager who appeared in the youth-based sitcom I Need to Know.
The actress’ qualifications include an OND in mass communication from the Ogun State Polytechnic and a law degree from the University of Lagos. Though she had made a name for herself in several productions, it was her movie, Jenifa that finally cast her name in stone.