I have always read about landlords in fast-gentrifying neighborhoods, eager to bring in higher-paying renters, drive out tenants by harassing them with bills, making renters uncomfortable and sometimes assaulting them as was my recent experience concerning the landlord of the property where I live, Mr. Nnamdi Agbalugo and undue interference of State C.I.D Panti.
I moved into an apartment in the Grammar School, Ojodu area of Lagos in July of 2018. I had hardly settled into the new apartment when I realized the kind of person that the landlord is: A notorious shylock landlord and a serial assaulter. Because I was in a hurry to get accommodation, I did not do a background check before moving into his property situated in the Ojodu Grammar School area of Lagos. Mr. Agbalugo is always at loggerheads with tenants, no matter how hard we try to avoid altercations with him. His constant strategy is to create issues with tenants.
Some tenants have even had to leave long before their rents are due. He deliberately makes tenants uncomfortable so that he can always bring new and unsuspecting renters. This is what he was trying to do to me when he assaulted me on Sunday the 17th March 2019 during an argument.
The case of assault was reported to the Grammar School Police Station where an IPO named Adeleye, and an Inspector Crime named Malik was to assigned to visit the scene of the incident. On getting back to the station, we were told to write our statements. Of the many people who witnessed the incident, two people gave their statement of witness and he was found absolutely guilty. Agbalugo could not provide a witness, even when he was given about 4 days to do so.
The charge was prepared and signed by the DCO Ojodu Police Station and we were to appear in court on Monday 25th. The charges included assault and threat to life. On the court date, Mr. Agbalugo did not appear at the station. Instead, he sent his son with a fake medical report claiming he was ill. Apparently, he has some informants in Ojodu police station who hinted him that the charge had been prepared and signed. He then stopped coming out of his house.
Much later, he started sneaking in and out of the compound and the neighborhood. During this period, Ojodu Police Station did not appear keen to have him arrested and arraigned and in court. The same Ojodu Police Station granted him immediate bail, on the same day the assault case was reported, and in the face of overwhelming evidence against him.
Whilst on his hide and seek game, he managed to find his way to State C.I.D Panti where ASP Idowu Oyelero helped him to send a message to Grammar School Police Station, asking for the case file to be transferred to State C.I.D Panti. State C.I.D Panti is not known to handle such minor cases.
When the message from Panti was received, the IPO assigned to handle the case in Ojodu Police Station, Supo Adeleye, put a call through to me and asked if I was the person who wrote a petition to Panti asking for the case file to be transferred. I told him I did no such thing. I also met with the DPO Ojodu Police Station to tell him that I had no hands in the message from Panti. So, the message from Panti was ignored by Ojodu Police Station.
On Friday, April 26th, I received a call from the same ASP Idowu Oyelero that he was in the compound to see me. He apparently got my phone number from the landlord, Mr Agbalugo, who was with him and another officer named Nuru, when I came out to meet with them. ASP Idowu then told me that DC Panti had asked them to invite me to Panti to explain what transpired between me and Agbalugo. He even brought a signed invitation. They tried to insist that I follow them immediately but I told them I couldn't go with them at the time and promised to report to Panti the following Monday.
Immediately they left, I went to Ojodu Police Station to find out if they were aware of the invitation from Panti. The kind of response I got from the DPO and IPO suggested that the Panti invitation was not genuine, so I did not honor the invitation. Sensing that all was not well, I went to discuss the matter with a senior colleague, Emmanuel Nnadozie, Crime Editor of Vanguard Newspapers, who offered to take me before DC Panti. We had agreed to meet up the following day which turned out to be Wednesday, May 1st--A public holiday. The meeting was rescheduled.
On Friday, May 3rd, I was in bed when I got a call from the landlord, Mr. Agbalugo, calling my attention to leakage on the outside part of my apartment. When I got outside to see what he was calling my attention to, a furious ASP Idowu appeared from nowhere and forcefully demanded that I follow him to Panti.
Agbalugo apparently lured me out for the unlawful arrest. I requested to be allowed to dress up, ASP Idowu would have none of that. He refused and when I made to enter my apartment he forced his way into my apartment and followed me all through into my bedroom where in stark nakedness and his presence I dressed up and followed him in a car, alongside Mr. Agbalugo and another junior female office named Bose. When I tried to make some calls, ASP Idowu tried to stop me saying I had no right to make any call. I managed to put a call through to Emma Nnadozie who then asked to speak with the ASP Idowu.
I could not ascertain the discussion between Emma Nnadozie and ASP Idowu, but from what I heard, ASP Idowu knew who Emma Nnadozie was. When we got to Yaba area leading to Panti State C.I.D, I was surprised to see that we didn't enter the premises of State C.I.D Panti from the main official entrance. We passed through a dirt-filled compound backyard, leading to a kitchen, from where we landed in a back office. My presence was not even documented on that day.
Many minutes later, ASP Idowu presented me to a senior officer simply known as "Otunba". I could not make head or tail of what the invitation was all about but there was a subtle move to get me to instruct DPO Ojodu to release the case file to them. I refused. Shortly thereafter, I was allowed to go. I was leaving Panti State C.I.D from the main office entrance when I realized that wasn't the place we came in through.
I was still troubled about the whole development, I then got in touch with PPRO Lagos State, DSP Bala Elkanah and after narrating all that happened, he requested to see a copy of the invitation from Panti. By this time, I had misplaced the invitation. I then proceeded to Ojodu police station to request a photocopy of the invitation which had already been included in the case file. I met with the DPO and told him that I had informed the PPRO about Panti's involvement. I also told him that the PPRO had asked for a copy of the letter. The DPO then put a call through to the PPRO. I'm not sure what the PPRO told the DPO, but I heard the DPO plead with PPRO not to report the matter to the CP. And that he would handle the matter.
I was not allowed to get a copy of the invitation and so I left Ojodu Police station in disappointment.
A few weeks later, I was cleaning my apartment when I found the invitation from Panti.
On May 22nd, 2019, I hand-submitted a petitIon, attached with the invitation from Panti, to the PPRO in his Ikeja G.R.A Office. Right there in my presence, the PPRO put a call through to ASP Idowu. The invitation had ASP Idowu's phone number. During the phone conversation, the PPRO berated ASP Idowu on the basis that he or State C.I.D Panti wasn't supposed to be involved with such a minor case . ASP Idowu was obviously on an illegal mission. There and then, PPRO instructed ASP Idowu to get the case file from Ojodu and handle the case in the capacity of an IPO and feed him back. I thought that the PPRO's instruction to ASP Idowu was a sort of punishment to expose him.
On Thursday, June 6th, I received a call from ASP Idowu Oyelero notifying me that the case file from Ojodu Police Station had been brought to him and that me and Mr Agbalugo, the suspect, should report the following day, Friday, June 7th. I arrived there and was shown the case file from Ojodu. Hours later Agbalugo arrived and we were once again presented to "Otunba", who briefed us that the case file was with the DC Panti and that he was waiting for an instruction from her on the next step. He then said we should return the following Thursday, June 13.
Unknown to me, that was the day they arranged to take us to court. I quickly informed my lawyer, Barrister Felix Agbonrofo, who himself was not in town on that day. As we entered the premises of Chief Magistrate Court, Oyingbo on that fateful Thursday, a resident lawyer, approached me to see if he could be of assistance.
I told him I wasn't a suspect or defendant and that I didn't need his legal service. I then directed him to speak with Mr. Agbalugo, who was supposed to be the suspect /defendant to be arraigned.
I was already seated inside court no 2 of the Chief Magistrate Court when the same lawyer, who had earlier approached me, called my attention to what shocked me. Contrary to what I told him, he said I was the person to be arraigned as a suspect/defendant. He then showed me a copy of the trumped-up charge, citing a May 6th incident that never occurred. I was dazed. The case file from Ojodu Police Station concerning the incident of March 17th and in which I am the complainant/ plaintiff was not presented before the magistrate.
For the records, I was never arrested on the basis of the trumped up charge that was read out to me in court neither did I write any statement concerning such. I was never served a Writ of Summons by any court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, neither was I officially arraigned before a Judge by officially assigned Case Officers of the Nigeria Police Force. I am 100% sure that these people--Nnamdi Agbalugo and ASP Idowu Oyelero can never substantiate their claims in that trumped up charge. They only came to deliberately insult the integrity of the court as well as perpetuate their mischief.
Nevertheless, I was called to mount the Witness Box. When the charge was read, I pleaded not guilty and asked to be given some minutes to call out the anomaly that just played out. In the full view of the court, I narrated the incidents of March 17th and 24th. I also made it clear to the magistrate that, to the best of my knowledge, the reason why I was in court was for the arraignment of Mr. Agbalugo.
I guess the Magistrate Mrs. A.O Komolafe and Prosecutor, Inspector Kehinde Omishade, saw the genuineness of my explanation and granted me a very liberal bail which was perfected within a few minutes. The matter was adjourned till 11 July 2019.
Clearly, Mr. Agbalugo and his cronies in State C.I.D Panti are trying hard to use state resources to pervert justice. During a conversation, ASP Idowu Oyelero told me that he had known Agbalugo since 1992 when was a very junior officer in Ojodu Police Station. The way and manner he has been routing for Agbalugo's interest on this matter suggest that they are very good friends.
Up to this time of writing, Mr Agbalugo has not relented from his troublemaking ways and he pays no heed to the consequences of his actions. His threats to my life is now a daily thing despite the fact that we are in court already.
Whilst using this medium to draw the attention of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zubairu Muazu to this matter, I would also like to implore the DC Panti , Mrs Yetunde Longe, who is said to be in possession of case file from Ojodu Police Station, to please release the case file for presentation in court.
In closing, I would like to mention that I had already forgiven Agbalugo and moved on before the second visit of ASP Idowu from State C.I.D Panti. During the period of his hiding from the police so as not be arraigned, he felt humiliated, embarrassed and roundly demystified. He had carved an image of a fearless person prior to that incident. And because he feels his pride is damaged, he started lusting for my downfall by way of looking for ways to implicate or unduly put me to shame in retaliation for what he considers damage to his baseless ego.
I am hoping that this matter that he has pushed this far will be the lesson he needs to learn about the need to be humble.