Seun Ojikutu, a resident of Poka, Palace Road in Epe, Lagos, has narrated how his landlord, also known as Baba, assaulted a co-tenant with the help of soldiers.
Ojikutu reported that his landlord had always sought to send Augustine Paul, his co-tenant, away from his house because he feared that Paul’s unstable mental health could cause a problem he might not be able to handle.
“The landlord had always wanted Paul to leave his house. Every time, he would mutter out loud, saying Paul’s rent would soon expire. This was because Paul now shows signs of unstable mental health,” he said.
Ojikutu said Paul was mentally stable when he rented his apartment. He said that until Paul travelled to his village and stayed there for 10 months, he was sane.
“We thought he would not return until he did in January. But when he returned, we discovered that he was no longer sane,” Ojikutu said.
“He sometimes says awkward things, laughs alone, and gets aggressive with himself. Although he does not disturb the peace of others, he is a shadow of himself. All he does when he sees someone he knows is greet them and then beg for food and money.”
Ojikutu said he suggested to the landlord that they take Paul to Kadam, a psychiatric hospital close to Epe, Lagos. But the landlord disagreed, saying Paul was not his relative.
He said the landlord asked him on Monday about the places Paul visited frequently. Ojikutu traced Paul to a place where people smoke cannabis and then assured the landlord that Paul would remain there for a while.
“When I got home, I saw six soldiers in Baba’s space bus. They wore military camouflage. I knew they came for Paul, but I wondered why soldiers would come for him. One soldier said they would wait till Paul was back,” said Ojikutu.
“I asked the shortest soldier among them where they would take Paul if they seized him. He said they would inject him. It sounded like they were going to kill him to me. When I spoke, the soldier asked that I keep quiet, saying Paul was not my relative.”
The moment Paul returned, the soldiers followed him to his room and called him, but he did not answer, according to Ojikutu. A soldier asked if he was Paul and he replied in affirmation. Then they brought him out.
“One of them said, ‘na you dey craze abi? I go show you say I mad pass you’. And they started beating him. They beat him severely. I went to the landlord to ask why they were beating him, but Baba hurled abusive words at me. I and other onlookers were angry,” Ojikutu said.
He said an older neighbour asked Paul what he did the following morning, but he said he didn’t know. According to him, Paul said he felt betrayed that while the soldiers beat him, no one attempted to stop them.
Ojikutu said the soldiers returned to beat Paul on Tuesday evening. This time, he said, they beat him with pieces of cables, bottles, horsewhips, cement blocks, and pipes.
“They beat him so much that I had to call someone from the street. We met them when they wanted to force him to mount a bike. We tried to stop them, but they beat him and he started gasping for air. They put him on the bike,” he said.
Ojikutu said he exchanged words with the landlord on the issue. On Wednesday morning, Paul returned and started packing his loads. Ojikutu said Paul looked unkempt and had a swollen eye.
The landlord was contacted, but he did not answer his call. He had also not responded to a text sent to him at press time.
CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, the Lagos State Police Spokesperson, was also contacted but he said he was not aware of the issue.