A 33-year-old woman from Delta State, Ifeoma Ossai, who was arrested by the Ogun State Police Command for allegedly grabbing her landlord’s manhood during an argument till he died, speaks with DAUD OLATUNJI from police custody on what transpired between her and the man
When did you move to Ogun State?
I came to Ogun State in 2022 and I don’t live in Ogun State. I stay at Akeja, which is a boundary between Ogun and Lagos states.
Are you married?
I am not married, but I have two children. I am left with two children because their father left us without carrying out his responsibilities as their father. So, when he came back, he started begging for us to come back, but I don’t want to continue the relationship with him. He once went to welfare (court) for him to take custody of the children, but they were not released to him because they were still young. They told him to pay us at least N5,000 per month, but he couldn’t fulfill that.
What is your level of education?
I am a secondary school leaver. My dream was to study Business Administration but that was cut short when my mother died, and she was the breadwinner of the family.
What do you do for a living?
I sell wine at the Kola Market in Lagos State.
How long have you been staying in the house?
I rented an apartment in the house in June last year and I have been staying there since.
What was the agreement you had with your landlord when you rented the apartment?
When the agent brought me to the house, I was told that I would pay N210,000 for a room self-contained, the annual payment was N110,000, and that the agent’s commission and agreement was N100,000. So, when I got to the apartment, I discovered that there was no running water and not even traces of pipe and borehole. So, I told them I couldn’t pay for the house because I couldn’t be looking for where to fetch water on the streets. Then, he promised to make the borehole with my house rent. So, I was convinced and I paid. But after I paid, the landlord refused to give the agents his share of the money. So, I had to give them an extra N20,000. Had I known, I would have collected my money back.
Have you ever had any reason to complain about anything in the house?
Yes, I complained several times. I did not pack in immediately, because I couldn’t live there without a water supply. I told him that I had a chest problem and that was the reason I was specific about having water running in the house. He begged me to give him two weeks to sort it out and I did. I stayed back at my former house. So, he called me on the 13th day that they were through with everything, and that I should pack in. On getting there, I observed there was no borehole in place. When I queried him, he told me they were waiting for someone to rent the remaining apartment.
Then I packed in with the hope that it would be done soon, but everyone that came for the house always went back because there was no water. I also brought four people to check the house just to aid the process, but they wouldn’t stay because there was no water. In the sixth month, I confronted him again, and it was then that he told me that it was his mother that would be occupying the apartment. In the eighth month, I called the mother who happens to own the house and complained that I was tired and it was affecting my lungs because I already had chest pain.
The woman then told me that she had given his son (the deceased) money to get the borehole done. She then asked me to get a plumber to commence the digging, but I rejected the assignment immediately. I told her that it was not my job; she has four men as children, and she should assign it to them.
What happened next?
Later, she promised to get it done. Three days later, they began to dig the borehole and I was happy. I even bought drinks for everyone at home and we celebrated. But my happiness was cut short when I discovered that they did not run the water into the apartment.
I complained again and I was told that nothing could be done about it. I was also told that I complained too much. I reminded him (the landlord) of our agreement when I rented the apartment. But all of that proved abortive. I decided that once my rent was due, I would stay for a while before I would take another loan because I just completed the payment for the one used to rent the apartment and then I would move out to get another apartment. The day I rented the apartment was the darkest day of my life.
How did you and your landlord engage in a fight?
On Saturday when the issue happened, I was coming back from somewhere when they asked me to pay N1,000 for electricity supply because we are using the prepaid meter. We used an electricity supply for four to five days because there were 12 tenants in the house. So, I went to the landlord and asked why we consumed electricity worth N12,000 within five days. I also remembered that we turned it off for some hours to save it.
I also consulted a friend who works with the electricity company and he said it was either there was accumulated debt on the meter or the man was not paying the N12,000 worth. But I told him that I trust my landlord and that he could not have been paying less than the amount.
So, I went to him and asked if there was a debt on the bill and he confessed. I then said I shouldn’t be paying for what I did not owe but he said others would not want to pay and that it was the only way to pay the bill. So, I let it go. I paid N1,000 and I went out, but on getting home, there was no water and light and I got to know that every other person had fetched water before my arrival. So, I complained to the younger brother that it was cheating and it was unfair, and he pleaded with me. He said he could not talk to his brother about it because he never knew anything about the house and more so, they were not on talking terms. I know that all of them don’t talk; even their wives don’t talk to one another.
I also told him that I would use the money I paid for the agent and agreement to stay in the house without paying. When I discussed it with someone, he told me to report it to the human rights agency, but I didn’t because I felt we were close and more like a family. I could not see myself doing that to them. As I was coming into the compound, I was saying that I was waiting for my rent to expire and that the law that would intervene in our matter because it won’t pay them.
So, the landlord, on Monday came out and attacked me when he heard that I had been saying that I would not pay when my money expires. I asked him if he were to be in my shoes and he was cheated, what would he have done? He said if I would not pay, I should pack out and the wife joined and started calling me a call girl it degenerated into a fight and the man slapped me. The wife scratched my face and body.
What happened thereafter?
His younger brother, Daddy David, intervened and warned his brother to desist from fighting because of his health condition. He (Daddy David) said his brother was hypertensive and that fighting could lead to a crisis. So, he left but the woman kept on abusing me despite all the wounds they had inflicted on me. So, I went to her and beat her. Daddy David left me to beat her to my satisfaction before he separated us, but while we were at it, I heard the husband making a call, asking some people to start coming to the house.
After the disagreement, I went back to my apartment. I planned to go to the police to report the case with blood on my face. But 30 minutes later, I heard people screaming. So, I went out and Daddy David said my landlord had collapsed. I rushed into their house and saw the man (landlord) unconscious and he was in a position of making a call because the phone was on his cheek as if he was on a call. They rushed him to the hospital and he was pronounced dead there. They brought him back home and everyone was saying the man knew he was hypertensive and still went ahead to fight. I got to know that he was alone in the room when he had the attack.
So, I stayed in the house till they brought the police because I know I didn’t kill him. They told the police that he collapsed after fighting and I was surprised the next day when they started saying I held him by his manhood. I was surprised and I asked his brother why he lied because he saw all that happened between us. Again, that was not what he reported at the station the day before. So, what changed? He started asking me, ‘what now killed him?’. How and why would I touch his manhood? If I did, was there nobody to stop me from doing that? It was a cook-up story. That was how I found myself here.
How was your relationship with your landlord?
We had a good relationship. I never fought the man. He was a gentleman and that is why I have been enduring all they had been doing to me. When I cook, we all eat and talk together. I regret everything that happened. If I had known, I would have left him when he confronted me. I would have reported him to the police when he slapped me. I would have tendered my receipts, narrated my story, and left it to them to judge. But God understands it all. Even when he was rushed to hospital, I planned to report at the station so that when he comes back, the police would settle the matter for us. Unfortunately, he died.
Where are your children?
I learned that they are with my elder sister but I’m worried because she can’t cater to herself not talk about adding my children to her responsibilities. I am the breadwinner of the family. Even my sister doesn’t have transport fare to come to check on me. I have nobody and I don’t want my children to suffer. I heard that people have been contributing to feeding them but for how long will they do that? It was my old school boys (Lagos State Model College, Ojo) who have been contributing to my feeding here. They said they saw it on Facebook.