Issues between landlords and tenants are not uncommon. That is why the Citizens’ Mediation Centre, an arm of Lagos State Ministry of Justice handles landlords/tenants matters through mediation. Here, landlords and tenants can resolve their issues amicably. However, that is not the case with Mr Adebayo Akinrinlade, the landlord of the house at No. 40, Church Street, Aboru, Iyana-Ipaja who decided to take matters into his hand on April 1st by beating Michael, one of the tenants that lived in his compound to death.
The prosecutor, Mr. Chidi Okoye explained that the offence contravenes Section 223(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011 and as a result, the man, Mr Akinrinlade is currently arraigned before the Magistrate Court on a one-count charge of unlawful beating, causing death.
Since the deceased cannot verify what really transpired, observers say that Michael was beaten to death in a tussle with his landlord over flushing his toilet during the naming ceremony of the landlord’s grandchild. According to the story, Michael had complained earlier about a leaking pipe to his landlord, Mr. Akinrinlade but the man had done nothing about it which violates the obligation of the landlord in the new Tenancy Law approved by Lagos State which states that Landlords must effect repairs and maintain the external and common parts of the premises.
Another law the accused broke under the Tenancy Law is termination or restriction of a common facility or service for the use of the premises which in this case is the use of the toilet since Michael was warned not to flush his toilet so as not to disturb the naming ceremony but his failure to comply got the landlord angry.
Michael was promptly sent for and confronted by the accused and other thugs, who were invited to deal with the deceased for going against his landlord’s order and disturbing the ceremony. Michael was hit on the head with a stick by the accused and he slumped and became unconscious. Efforts were made to quickly rush him to the hospital but apparently, the blow to the head was a fatal one. It was in the hospital he gave up the ghost and was confirmed dead.
The accused Mr Akinrinlade did not only violate his obligations as a landlord but also encroached and violated the right of Michael as a tenant. According to the Lagos Tenancy law, the tenant is entitled to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises which include privacy, freedom from unreasonable disturbance, noise pollution and nuisance, as well as exclusive possession of the premises, subject to the landlord’s restricted right of inspection.
Michael was therefore within his right when he flushed the toilet whether it disturbed the naming ceremony or not since prior to that time, he’d complained of the leaking pipe but the landlord had failed in his duty to fix it.
Although the accused, Mr Akinrinade pleaded not guilty to the charge, the further hearing on the case was adjourned till January 13, 2014 by the Chief Magistrate, A.O. Awogboro who granted the accused bail in the sum of N1 million, with two sureties in like sum.