Metro & Crime

Landlord, wife defaced tenant over quit notice

A woman, Mrs. Mary Onyian, has narrated how her landlord, Mr. Samson Ekweozor, and his wife, Mrs. Anurika Ekweozor, defaced her with a sharp object over the argument of quitting an apartment at the Ikotun- Egbe area of Lagos State.


According to Mary, trouble started after the Ekweozors asked her family to vacate their apartment a month after they moved in. Mary and her husband alleged that the Ekweozors asked them to move out without bothering to refund them money paid to rent the apartment.


The quarrel and argument between the two families soon snowballed and before one knew what was happening, the Ekweozors allegedly attacked Mary with a sharp object, leaving her face scarred for life. The victim’s husband, Racherry, said that the Ekweozors meant to kill his wife and as such the police should charge them with attempted murder.


He alleged that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), who handled the matter, was biased. It was learnt that the Ekweozors had ordered Mary and her husband to move out, even though they had only just moved into the apartment. Mary added that it was impossible to move even if they had money, which they didn’t because Nigeria was on lockdown.


Mary said that the most puzzling thing about the order to vacate their new apartment was the refusal of the Ekweozors to tell them their offence. The woman said that they had only spent just a month in the apartment, before the Ekweozors started nagging them to vacate the apartment. She said: “We don’t know the reason we were asked to move out.


The whole drama started during the lockdown and we had nowhere to go. I was out of work at that time. We were battling how to feed and survive during the lockdown when the landlord and his wife asked us to vacate the apartment, which we had just rented and moved in. Determined to make us quit the apartment, the landlord disconnected our power supply, plunging our apartment into permanent darkness. We resorted to using generators.


As if disconnecting our power supply was not enough, the landlord disconnected water to our apartment. It was at that point that my husband asked him to refund part of our rent if he truly wanted us to leave. In fact, the reason the landlord and his wife asked us to vacate the apartment is still not clear to us.” After Racherry’s demand of a rent refund from the landlord failed, he left, but the strained relationship became tense.


Mary added: “One day, I went to take water from our bowl close to the window, to prepare food for our children and as I was returning to our apartment, our landlord suddenly appeared and held me from behind. His wife used a sharp object to attack my face, neck and other parts of my body. Before I knew what was happening, I was covered in blood. It was my screams of pains that caused my husband, who was inside our apartment, to run out. He took one look at me and then took me to the police station, where we reported the case. We were later given a letter and referred to hospital for treatment.


I spent two weeks at the hospital. In fact, that I didn’t die is nothing short of a miracle. There was so much blood everywhere.” Racherry said that he was already planning to go to the police station to report the landlord for disconnecting power and water supply to his apartment, when the Ekweozors attacked his wife, leaving her bloodied and scarred for life.


He said: “When I went to Ikotun Police Station the following day, I was shocked to hear the police classify it as something else. I had expected them to charge the landlord and his wife for attempted murder.


What annoyed me the most is that someone wanted to kill my wife and the DPO was not seeing it as a case of attempted murder. I just don’t understand it. After much protest, the landlord’s wife was arrested, but later released following the instruction of the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, that all the detained suspects with minor offences should be released to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic at police stations.”


After the lockdown was lifted, Racherry waited for the police to recall all parties involved in the case or at least re-arrest his landlady in order to charge her to the court, but he waited in vain.


He said that while the landlord’s wife was living her life as if everything was normal, his wife was plunged into sadness over her scarred face. Racherry stated that every time he looked at his face, his heart yearned for justice. Again, the man got up and began the quest for justice.


He said: “When I was not satisfied with the matter, I went to the police station, to demand a re-opening of the case, but met a new DPO. They call him Adagba.


But just like his predecessor, he didn’t take the matter with the seriousness it deserved. I have spent a lot of money to take care of my wife. If not because of the new spike in the COVID-19, we had to budget another N13 million for surgery and she will have to be flown abroad. All my wife and I want right now is justice. This is because her face and neck will be scarred for life.” When our reporter contacted the landlord, to hear his side of the story, he promised to get back to our reporter, but didn’t.


Our reporter called him three times and his responses were still the same. Attempts to hear from his wife also failed as her phone line didn’t go through. While still hoping and praying the police would do the right thing and charge the landlord’s wife for attempted murder, Racherry decided to hasten his quest for justice.


He went in search of human rights activists and was directed to Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile, the co-founder of Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN). Recalling the incident, Omejalile said: “The matter was brought to us through our colleagues. This was after the police failed them and we had to take it up.


We visited the then DPO in charge of Ikotun Police Station, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) called Ona. He was supposed to investigate the case, but he referred it to the Anti-Robbery Section of the division. When the landlady was eventually arrested, the landlord, who held Mary from behind, for his wife to slash her with a sharp object, was not arrested.


The police allowed him to go. “The DPO, who was supposed to transfer the case to the Family Support Unit (FSU) for proper investigation, decided to refer the case to another section, which had nothing to do with the matter.


The issue was buried. We gathered that the landlady was a troublesome person and that even in Kogi State, where she resided before moving to Lagos State, she was alleged to have also attacked and injured someone over there. We understand that was why she ran away from Kogi to Lagos.


After CSP Ona was redeployed, a new DPO, who is also a CSP, Johnson Adagba, was brought to replace him. Just like his predecessor, Adagba also didn’t investigate the matter.


The victim’s husband was also approached to settle the matter out of the police station amicably. “What any human rights fighter would want for the family of the Onyians is justice!


The scar on the face of the woman will remain there for life. We have also sent a new petition to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu. We are hoping that through the intervention of the CP, Mary will get justice.”


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