By AGENE AKHERE, Benin
Shock and confusion pervaded the air in Uwa Street, in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, after a tenant, Jeff Obasohan, allegedly set his 83-year-old landlord, identified as Pa Joseph Iyen, ablaze.
The ugly incidence WESTERN POST learnt occurred on Wednesday, at the deceased’s residence located between Second East Circular road and Third East Circular road in Benin, the state capital.
It was gathered that there had been a protracted quarrel between the octogenarian and Obasohan over his unpaid rent.
Our correspondent gathered that the late Pa Iyen had also given the suspect a quit notice on two occasions, when he (Obasohan) allegedly refused to pay.
But the disagreement was said to have degenerated on Wednesday, leading to the tragedy. The elderly man was said to have died, following the severe burns he sustained from the fire.
The incident also drew the attention of residents in the area who thronged the scene to sympathise with the victim’s family.
The wife of the deceased, Mrs. Esther, alleged that the tenant had threatened her life and that of her late husband.
She also said that the suspect had failed to pay his electricity bill.
The widower said: “He does not pay his house rent; he does not pay the light bill. Since 2014, we said he should leave this house; I don’t want trouble.
“He threatened to kill me or my husband. We took him to court. Then, my husband fell sick. Later, they said that the case had been struck out.”
The daughter of the late man, Faith Eganbor, alleged that the tenant had been officially asked to leave the building in 2014 and 2015.
Eganbor, who described his father as a “kind” man, called for a thorough investigation on the matter and ensure justice for the aggrieved family members.
“I need justice in my father’s matter. My father is a good man; he is kind to a fault. This is not the first time that this tenant has been asked to leave this house.
“They gave him quit notice early this year; 2014, 2015. We came this morning to find out (that) our father is dead; burnt,” Eganbor said.
But the suspect could not be reached for comments, as he was said to have been arrested by security operatives from the Esigie Police Division.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Osifo Abiodun, said that the tenant had a protracted disagreement with the late landlord over unpaid rent before allegedly setting him ablaze.
He also said the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.
“That is true. Yes, he (suspect) is in custody. The suspect has made a statement; the case has been transferred to the state CID,” Abiodun said on telephone.
However, it was learnt that the remains of the late man were later taken to a mortuary by some security operatives.