The death of a 22-year-old man, who was allegedly set ablaze by his landlady and her children in the densely-populated Ajegunle area of Lagos, has sparked controversy.
The victim, who was identified only as Emmanuel, reportedly went to ease himself in the early hours of Tuesday, August 18, leaving his father and sister inside their one-room apartment.
His sister, who had waited for his return, said she went to check on him in the toilet situated in the boys’ quarters of the building on Alafia street, and to her dismay, she found her brother on the ground with his body on fire.
She raised the alarm which attracted other tenants who tried to get Emmanuel medical help, but two hospitals were said to have rejected him. Witnesses said he died writhing in pain.
Emmanuel’s family alleged that the deceased was set ablaze by the landlady and her children. The landlady, who is on the run, alleged that Emmanuel himself intended to set the building ablaze, but caught fire accidentally.
According to Vanguard, there had been a lingering quarrel between Emmanuel’s family and the landlady. It was reported that both parties had been to the Ajeromi police station several times to settle quarrels.
A resident, who spoke on strict condition of anonymity, blamed policemen at Ajeromi for not nipping the situation in the bud until it led to Emmanuel’s death.
The resident said: “I blame policemen at Ajeromi for the death of this young man. Emmanuel’s father and the landlady have reported their misunderstandings to the police several times.
“Nothing was done to bring a lasting solution to the quarrel. Had they acted when they were supposed to, this would not have happened.”
Although the resident could not tell exactly what happened that fateful night, he continued: “I woke up with the alarm raised by some tenants that night. We were told that it was the deceased that lit the fire.
“However, the question is how is it possible judging from the distance between his apartment and where the fire was said to have been lit? This is what the police should look into.”
Another resident said: “How come he sustained fire burns if he was in his room? How come only the window of the affected room was gutted by fire if he did not intend to set the building ablaze?
“Many are of the view that the petrol could have spilled on him as he struck the match. Besides, he was alone at the scene of the fire.”
Police sources said that the landlady, whose identity could not be immediately ascertained, had bolted, adding that there were efforts to apprehend her with a view to commencing investigations into the matter.
At the time of filing this report, operatives at the homicide section of the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department, Yaba, were still investigating.
Meanwhile, a jealous man reportedly set three children, their mother and her lover ablaze in Ajumose, Ogbein area of Ede in Osun state, for allegedly cheating on him.
The Punch reports that the woman, Hadijat Adegoke was living with her four children ─ Fawas (13), Ishwat (12), Sodiq (8), and Fathia (6) in an uncompleted two-bedroom apartment after she left her husband in a rented apartment.
It was gathered that the house was constructed by a previous lover, while another lover had also raised the house to the present state. Hadijat had asked the culprit, Munirudeen Lawal, to pass the night in her place when another lover came around.
Reports have it that Munirudeen was enraged when he saw another man in the house and doused the building in petrol before setting fire to the house and fleeing the area.