The proprietor of St. Joseph’s International School, Lusan Estate, Ibafo, Ogun State, Mrs Esther Henshaw, has alleged that the owner of the building she is using for her school and other landlords in the area are threatening her life and those of her family members, PUNCH Metro reports.
Esther, an indigene of Creek Town in the Calabar South area of Cross River State, also said the landlords in the area had conspired to thwart her business.
She stated that trouble started when she moved to an uncompleted structure, which she was using for her school.
Esther added that having paid the landlord N100,000 annual rent for the first three years, there was a delay in paying for the fourth year because the venture had not picked up as anticipated.
The school owner noted that she was surprised to see her landlord one morning with hoodlums and herbalists pulling down the school’s gate and throwing its property outside in the full glare of the pupils.
Esther stated, “The landlord of the school building just came one day without a prior notice and asked us to quit the place. He opened the gate, performed some rituals and invited the herbalists to join him.
“The herbalists were performing their rituals during school hours and the pupils were watching them. The landlord removed the school’s gate and took us to the Ibafo Police Station.
“When he took us to the station, the police asked us to sign an undertaking, but I asked them to allow us to remain there till December. The landlord said he would not allow us to remain in the building till that period. Later on, he sued us to a magistrates’ court at Iro, Ibafo, but he refused to appear on the subsequent adjourned dates. We were the only ones going to the court. He, accompanied by one woman, went to meet with the magistrate and requested that the case be settled out of court.”
According to her, the case was reported at the Ibafo Police Station; the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Elewaran; and the Ogun State Police Command, Abeokuta, adding that the police had been lackadaisical about her complaints.
Esther, on February 11, 2019, petitioned the state Commissioner of Police about attempts on her life.
Her landlord, Ibini Moses, said Esther was introduced to him by her husband’s brother, Edwin Henshaw, whose good conduct made him to offer her and her husband one of his apartments.
According to him, the couple had been having problems paying the rent, electricity bills and security levies since 2014.
He noted that he sought other landlords help to see if the couple could relocate to a smaller apartment, adding that Esther had always rejected such a suggestion.
The landlord stated that as a result, he had to give the couple notices to quit his house, one of which was dated July 4, 2019.
He added that at a stage, he reported the couple to other landlords, who invited them for a meeting.
Moses said, “I was in my house preparing to take my young son to school when policemen from the SCIID, Elewaran, Abeokuta, came to arrest me, saying that I threatened the Henshaws.
“They said I usually sent boys after them. They told the police that if visit Ibafo, they would see those boys.
“Their house rent was N100,000, which included the agency fee, agreement fee and other things. They only paid me N60,000 and moved in the following day. It took them eight months to pay the balance of N40,000.
I read through the petition; it was about eight paragraphs. Paragraph one to six talked about one Ekundayo, while seven and eight talked about me threatening their lives.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun State, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed that Esther had complained about the threat to her life at the Ibafo Police Station, adding that when the DPO asked her for the identities of those threatening her, but she was unable to point out those involved.
Oyeyemi said Esther asked the police to go to the area and arrest anybody they see; noting that all the people in the area were threatening her and her family.
He stated, “The woman was in my office to complain that she reported the case at Ibafo and the case was brought down to the SCID, Elewaran. The police personnel at Elewaran confirmed that she reported the case to them. The inspector handling the case said they were ready to follow up and arrest all those involved in the case.
“When she came to my office, I called the DPO, Ibafo, and narrated the story to him. I asked the DPO to arrest those people and transfer the case to Elewaran. I suggested that they should deploy police personnel, who were very close to the place to arrest those people. I asked her to go and meet the DPO.
“The woman did not know who to arrest. When the police personnel asked her to name those to be arrested, she replied that they should go to the area and start arresting anybody they see.
“The woman, instead of identifying the suspects, came back to my office and when I asked for her husband since she couldn’t identify those threatening her, she stated that her husband was a pastor.
“I suggested that she should allow her husband to come, perhaps he would be able to handle the situation better. She began to cry in my office. I alerted the DPO, who asked her to come back and identify to his men the persons she wanted them to arrest; since then, we have not heard from her.”