Photo credit: SaharaReporters
According to a report by SaharaReporters, Mrs. Mercy Excellent Ihem, a pregnant woman has narrated how one Barrister Umeakuekwe Stanley Izuchukwu forcibly evicted her family from their home, destroyed the roof and ceiling of her apartment, and made her go into forced labour.
The incident happened on July 2, 2021, at No 5, HVW Close, Federal Housing, Kubwa, Abuja following a disagreement over the renewal of rent.
The property is said to be managed by Izuchukwu on behalf of its owner, Mr. Yahaya Omaye, who is based in the United States of America (USA).
Izuchukwu allegedly hired some people who invaded Mrs Ihem's apartment and destroyed the roof and ceilings, leaving her children homeless, despite not having any court order backing the eviction of the family from the house.
The lawyer who was said to be at loggerheads with Mrs Ihem had threatened to make life miserable for her for refusing to vacate the apartment.
SaharaReporters gathered that Mrs. Ihem moved into the one-bedroomed apartment on April 5, 2020, and was expected to renew the rent the same month in 2021.
She said she had pleaded with the lawyer to give them till the following month (May) to make the payment, but he refused to allow them to renew the rent.
Trouble started when Izuchukwu insisted that if they must stay in the apartment, she must pay the rent in April using another tenancy agreement after staying for one year.
But when Mrs. Ihem eventually informed him of her readiness to pay for the rent the lawyer changed his mind and rejected the money, telling her that a new tenant had paid for the property and that she should move out.
Following this development, she was subjected to all manner of humiliation and harassment, with electricity and water supply deliberately cut off while the roof and ceilings of her apartment were destroyed by unknown persons believed to be acting on the orders of Izuchukwu, to force her out a day before her Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) as she was pregnant at the time.
She also alleged that showering debris from the destruction carried out in the house fell on one of her children.
The lawyer was said to have ignored all the entreaties and appeals made by neighbours and friends of Mrs Ihem, to be patient and allow the woman to have her baby before taking any action.
Mrs. Ihem was later admitted on July 3 to a private hospital at Gwagwala, where she eventually had her baby.
She explained that her blood pressure (BP) rose to 189/120 owing to the traumatic experience she had been passing through.
She said, "Barrister Stanley came on Saturday and said 'Madam, if you people don't want to park out, I will make life more miserable for you, and I will also jail you. He disconnected the electricity and water supply to my apartment.
"I was uncomfortable and started having labour pains on July 1st in the night, I managed till July 2nd before leaving for the hospital. If I had gone to Kubwa General Hospital, they would have carried out a Cesarean Section (CS) because my blood pressure (BP) was very high. I delivered my baby with my BP reading 180/150.
"On my way to the hospital, people started calling me on the phone but I couldn't pick up because I was in labour. A friend called me from London to inform me that they were removing the roof and ceilings of my apartment.
"Roof fell on the head of one of my children when they were destroying the house. All my properties have been destroyed by rain.
"They threw my children outside because my husband was not staying with us in Abuja, he was in Lagos. I don't know what made him treat us like this when we had never had any issue at all.
"When the Barrister visited me in the house, I asked him 'why are you doing this as if we have owed you for over a year? This is just April and my husband told him that he will be coming next month'. But he refused and insisted that we must move out of the house."
Mrs. Ihem also accused Izuchukwu of conniving with the police in an attempt to twist and change the narrative and conceal the truth.
She said he submitted a petition at Kubwa Divisional Police Headquarters (Phase 4), accusing her of being guilty of breach of public peace and criminal trespass.
Investigation revealed that the lawyer told the police that he had never met Mrs. Ihem in his life and that she was a criminal staying in the house illegally.
The police, upon receiving the petition, hurriedly invited and detained Mrs Ihem's husband, Victor Ihem.
However, he was later released when he provided the police with the receipt of the rent and tenancy agreements bearing Izuchukwu's name, signatures, and office address to prove they occupied the apartment legally.
The documents further revealed that Izuchukwu deliberately twisted and distorted facts to turn the case against the family after the damage already caused them.
However, when SaharaReporters contacted Izuchukwu for reaction, he denied all allegations levelled against him, saying that he was the one that filed a petition against her for damaging his properties.
He also said he was not in Abuja when the incident happened and that the police had brokered a peace deal for them.