A man named as Gabriel Ilori, has accused the Nigerian police of taking sides with his landlady’s son, Lanre Aliu, who allegedly assaulted him over unpaid rent in the Palmgrove area of Lagos State South west of Nigeria.
Information that is made available to us had it that Aliu’s Mother had collected two years rent from Mr. Ilori though the house agent in 2016.
However, Ilori was unable to move into the apartment till the expiration of his rent in 2018 owing to an ailment he suffered.
On visiting the apartment after he became well, the Ekiti State indigene alleged that he was assaulted by the landlord’s son over his outstanding rent.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Ilori alleged that when the matter was reported at the Ilupeju Police Station. Unfortunately, the case was turned against him.
He stated, “I rented an apartment at No. 25 Arolawun Street, Palmgrove, Lagos, in May 2016 and I paid for two years. Before I could move into the apartment, I fell sick and I had to travel for treatment. My rent expired in 2018 and my guarantor was contacted. I told him to help me explain to the landlady that I couldn’t move in as a result of my health status and I promised to make myself available as soon as I was well.
“On November 26, 2018, around 1pm, I went to see the landlady to reach an agreement with her. As I was about to leave, her son attacked me. He seized my bag, which contained my valuables, and defamed my character by calling me a thief in the public and at the same time threatened my life; the incident was witnessed by a lot of people.”
The 55-year-old Ilori said when they got to the police station, the police allegedly took sides with his landlady’s son, adding that his appeal to the Office of the Public Defender in lagos for legal assistance have not yield any positive result.
However, Aliu “the Landlord” denied the assault allegation, adding that Ilori should go to court to press charges against him if he had a case. He exclaimed.
Aliu said, “We reported at the police station four months before he came and I told him to come with me to the police station, but he refused to go. He wanted to drop the bag so that he could escape to the thin air.
“When we got to the police station, he ran away while they were trying to settle the matter. His bag is at the police station. My lawyer is aware of the matter; if he wants to make an issue out of it, he should go to the court.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, of the state was contacted, he said, “The case is a relationship issue between a “landlord” and a “tenant”. The police also act as peacemakers. So when a matter comes to us, the police will look at alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to see how it can be resolved. If it works, it also reduces the congestion in the courts. But if it is a serious crime that has been committed and there is enough evidence, the police will charge it to court without delay.
“It is not the complainant’s duty to direct the police to take the matter to court. And the fact that a matter has been brought to the police does not mean that it will automatically be charged to court. The police have to first establish whether a crime was committed or not. Two, we have to have sufficient evidence to prosecute, otherwise it will be an effort in futility; we will end up wasting the time of the court.
“So, if the police did not charge the matter to court, it is possible they could not establish a serious case or they had no sufficient evidence. We are the prosecutors and there is no right-thinking investigator who will charge to court a matter that has not been established that a crime was committed. The complainant is being unfair by claiming that the police took sides, because it is not every case that will go to court.”