By Evelyn Usman and Kingsley Ndimele
The relatively peaceful co-existence between a landlord, Mr John Olatunji, owner of a building located at number 9, Iyesi street in Ilogbo area of Morogbo, Lagos and his tenants turned sour last Tuesday following an attack on him by one of his tenants.
Unfortunately, the attack did not give Olatunji a second chance to either cement his relationship with his tenants or take stringent measures in checking their excesses. This is because as you read this piece, he is lying stone dead in the morgue, no thanks to the deep cut he received on his head and chest during the attack on him by his tenant, Julius Zosu.
Crime Alert gathered that the unsuspecting landlord, woke up penultimate day without a premonition of evil. Just then, a knock that was to change the course of the day was heard on the door, with Julius rushing in to inform him that his car was on fire.
As expected, Mr. Olatunji rushed out with a fire extinguisher in his hand, only to find out that the situation was contrary to the claim by Julius. To further ascertain the claim, he reportedly bent down, only to receive a stab on his head. Before he could recover from the impact, another stab landed on his head, prompting him to fall down,. Again, he tried as he could to get up , only for his assailant to stab him again with the kitchen knife in the chest. And this time around, he passed out. Another attempt to thrust the knife into the helpless landlord’s chest was met with resistance as two persons who rushed to the scene, held Julius hand and tied him with a string, before the arrival of policemen from Morogbo division. Mr. Olatunji was rushed to a private hospital, where doctors tried all they could to save him. But unfortunately, he died three days later.
The cause of the attack, as gathered, followed a quit notice that was issued to Julius because of his inability to pay his house rent. Julius has been occupying a one-room apartment in the building and paying his annual rent for nine years until February this year when the rent expired. The landlord, reports said, gave him a six- months grace to leave the apartment, explaining that his younger sister who lives in Seme area was coming to occupy the apartment, leading to constant argument between the duo.
In this interview with Crime Alert, Julius admitted to have committed the act but stated emphatically that he did it as a result of bottled anger.
Said he: “ He hit me with a charm on the chest on that day and after that, I did not know what I was doing again. That day, I woke up very early and went to hospital to complain to the doctor how I was feeling. On my way back, I noticed smoke in his car and went to call him to check it. As he bent down to check it, I brought out a knife from my pocket and stabbed him three times.”
Asked why he carried out such gruesome act, he replied, “I was angry. The problem started after my inability to pay the rent. My rent expired in February this year and I have been unable to pay because bussiness has not been too good. When I packed in, I have been paying N800 and I pay annually. But recently, the rent was increased to N1000, meaning I have to pay N12,000 a year. After the expiration of my rent, I begged him to give me sometime to pay him. But one day, he came to me and said that his sister living in Seme would be coming to occupy the room. I went to beg him and asked why it must be my apartment among other apartments. Later, he invited one of his younger brothers who is a military man to come and warn me to leave his house and he gave me up till September ending to pack out.
But since he gave me the quit notice, it has been from one trouble to another. Anytime he came back from work, he would be shouting and asking me when I would pack out. Before the incident, he has been fighting me for three days on. That was when he hit me on the chest with a charm. After the experience, I started noticing that my legs were shaking and it was as if I wanted to have stroke.”
Asked if the attack was a premeditated one, judging from his claim that the knife was inside his pocket when he went to the hospital, he replied that he usually kept the knife for security purposes.
Surprisingly , the landlord and his assailant were discovered to be members of the same church. Before he spoke to Crime Alert, Julius was unaware that his landlord had died. When the news was broken to him, he fell flat on the floor, sobbing.
Speaking in tears, he said, “ I never intended killing anybody. I never thought he would die. I only attacked him to put fear in him so that he would stop molesting me. I have never fought anyone in the entire area let alone killing anybody. You mean he is dead?”, he aksed directing his question to no one in particular. Raising his hand to the sky, the 45-year-old bricklayer, exclaimed, “ yeh! I am finished”.
The suspect, according to the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. frank Mba, would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, from where he would be charged to court.