6th July, 2023
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Ms. Ikebulam Ogochukwu, a single mother of three has been thrown into agony over deroofing of her apartment in Post Office road,YKC, Woji area of Port Harcourt over unpaid rents by her landlord, one Mr Obinna Eze.
Ogochukwu, her three children and her property worth millions of naira have been exposed to torrential rain which is now regular in Port Harcourt following the action of the landlord.
She said Eze and his Engineer who deroofed her apartment despite her pleas for understanding and patience over the rent arrears are now on the run.
While narrating her ordeal to journalists, Ms.Ogochukwu said, “I live at 20 Post Office road YKC, Woji Port Harcourt. I am a mother of three, I was owing my landlord some rent, which I promised to pay, but I did not have the money to pay.
“I pleaded with him to give me some time that I was going to pay only for him(Landlord ) to send his Engineer to come and deroof my house. He deroofed my apartment, all my property in the house have been destroyed by rain water.
“I am begging the general public and the Police to look into the matter because it is inhumane. How can somebody treat his fellow human being like this? It is not fair.
“I was there when they came to deroof the house. I was in the house that morning when they came. I thought it was even a joke. I was asking the Engineer why he is trying to remove the roof of my house, he now said he was given an order by the landlord.
She added that the landlord and the Engineer have refused to honour invitation of the police at Woji Station where she reported the matter.
In a swift reaction, a human rights advocacy group: Lawyers Watch For Justice International Initiative has described the alleged action of the landlord as callous.
In an interview with journalists, a lawyer with the group, Gbenga Oladapo, said the law frowns at such action which he described as wicked, callous and a dastardly act .
Mr Oladapo asserted that the landlord who ordered that the house roof be removed and the Engineer who executed such wicked order should be arrested and prosecuted
The lawyer also described the action as malicious damage to property. According to him, the alleged act by the landlord exposed the mother and her children to grave danger.
He noted that those involved should be arrested to serve as deterrent to persons who feel they can take the laws into their hands in a Civil Society.
Mr. Oladapo clarified that the recovery of premises law of Rivers State does not tolerate such action, even if the tenant is owing a hundred million.
He said no landlord has the right to deroof a tenant’s house without the order of court.
Mr Oladapo added that any landlord who feels like evicting a tenant is expected to go to court and get the order of court to evict that tenant and not to deroof the house of the tenant .
Meanwhile, the landlord Mr Obinna Eze did not pick several calls put across to him by our reporter neither did he reply to text messages and whatzpp messages sent to his mobile lines as at time of filing this report.
The Spokesperson for the Rivers State Police command SP Grace Iringe-Koko has also not responded to text messages sent to her mobile phone.