Some residents of Itire in Lagos Mainland have accused the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of intimidating them because of a woman. Residents of 10, Araromi Street, Itire, said they have been at the DPO’s mercy following a rift with a co-tenant, Maryam Wahab, described as acquaintance of the DPO.
But the DPO has denied the allegation, accusing the tenants of trying to drag him into their dispute.
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The residents, including 49-year-old Mrs. Kemi Labisi, daughter of the 90-year-old landlady, Mrs Claudina Alayande, were remanded in prison for over 10 days, after their arraignment in court.
It all started when Wahab chased away a woman, Lola Kalejaiye, she was harbouring during a scuffle. Kalejaiye was said to have moved her things into the apartment of another neighbour, Seun Arowolo.
But Wahab felt slighted by the action of Arowolo, a make-up artist, who allegedly declined her request for a tattoo on a sensitive part of her body. According to Arowolo: “the whole thing is strange. Maryam has made our lives impossible for doing nothing to her. I am a make-up artist and I draw tattoos. I am also a hair stylist.
But Maryam came to me when I moved into this compound and told me to draw tattoo for her. I wasn’t comfortable with the area she wanted the tattoo and I told her I won’t unless her husband personally told me to go ahead.
“Then, before I moved into this compound, I used to fix Lola’s hair. I have known her before packing into this compound. So, when they had their issues and Lola pleaded with me to keep her bag, I obliged her. I saw no reason to refuse her since she only kept her luggage and went to her friend’s place to stay. Three days later, Lola came and picked some of her things. It was then Maryam saw her and started making trouble.
“She started insulting me and calling me names. I didn’t answer her because I was just coming back from work and I was tired. I entered the house and locked the door. Around 11pm, Maryam started again. By this time, two of my brothers, Tobi and Tolu were at home. She was hitting our door and calling me bastard.
“Tobi went out and asked her to stop hitting the door and to stop the insult but she pushed him. Then, every other occupant of the compound came out, including Mrs. Labisi and told her she was looking for trouble but she didn’t listen. She kept pushing Tobi and insulting our mother.
“At that point, Tobi dragged her from the door and pushed her away. The landlady held Tobi and took him out of the place. We were all outside when one of our neighbours shouted that Maryam has stabbed herself and that she was running. We didn’t know what was happening and I ran after her.
“Then, we discovered she was going to the police station and we followed her there. But on getting there, we were arrested and detained. She lied that we stabbed her, the police didn’t listen to us. They just locked us up. My father came the next day and paid N25,000 for our bail.
“A day after we were granted bail, police came back to the compound and arrested us again. This time, our landlady’s daughter came to bail us and she was detained too because Maryam said she supported us to stab her. That was how we were charged to court and taken to Kirikiri where we spent over 10 days.”
Arowolo added: “We are tired of the harassment. Let the police investigate and find out who is being truthful. Let the Commissioner investigate the DPO and officers at Itire Police Station. We have suffered enough because of her. She has been bragging that we would return to Kirikiri Prison anytime she wants us to go there. That she would show us that she has power and nothing would happen.”
Mrs Labisi, who claimed that five of her dogs were poisoned and died in quick succession, alleged that Wahab has been making life difficult for her family. She alleged that Wahab was responsible for her dogs’ death, adding that people overheard her saying: “they haven’t seen anything yet, human beings, not dogs would start dying very soon.”
Mrs Labisi said: “That woman is the only headache we have in this compound. She packed in, in August 2015. Since November, it’s been one trouble or the other. She picks quarrel with everyone and when admonished, she runs to the station to fabricate lies.
“I have had to bail myself or my sister on several occasions from the station. There are times I would go to the station to file a complaint against her but I will be arrested. At a point, one of her friends told our neighbour to tell us to take our matter away from Itire Police Stain because she is friendly with the DPO there.
“The problem of last Wednesday started when I was complaining that our dogs are dying anyhow. One of the dogs was vomiting blood before it died and when we called a veterinarian, he said the dogs were poisoned. So, I was said and lamenting bitterly.
“Then, we heard her saying that dogs are dying now, we are complaining. That human beings will soon start dying. That was a serious comment and I started shouting at her for saying that. I accused her that she was the one who was killing our dogs for saying that and she called me a barren woman.
“I went to the station to give a complaint and I met her there. As I got there, I overheard one of the police women telling her to stop intimidating us and that she should pack out of the compound. But because of her relationship with the DPO, that woman said she was told to detain me.
“I heard later that policemen went to the house to check and they saw that her net was not torn as she claimed, neither was there water in her room. Yet I was detained. I got to the station around 12pm and was there till about 8pm before I was released to go home.
“Before that time, the police collected N5,000 from my sister for my bail and told my sister to go and bring money for her own bail because the complainant claimed she also attacked her. They now collected my sister’s phone and told her to bring money to bail the phone. “But when the DPO’s boss intervened in the matter, he returned the money and phone and asked them to release us. That was how we were released and since then, the police have not come to arrest us again. It has not been easy. We leave in our home in fear.”
Kalejaiye denied any rape attempt on her, saying Arowolo only assisted her to keep her luggage.
Wahab insisted that she was assaulted, claiming that Mrs Labisi and the men always called her prostitute, despite being married.
She said: “They are lying. How could I have stabbed myself? It was Tolu who stabbed me and they all saw it. Mrs. Labisi now told them to go to the station and say that I stabbed myself. All the things they have been accusing me of are lies. They even said I am the DPO’s lover, which is untrue too.
“They accused me that I was the one who killed their dog. What evidence do they have? So many things have been happening in the compound. I even fear for my life staying there. I am tired of the troubles there but I know that God is watching. Lola is the reason for all these problems.”