Alhaji Salaudeen Ishola, a landlord who duped hundreds of house seekers at Alapere-Ketu area of Lagos, southwest Nigeria, has been arrested by the police and is being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba.
The suspect was arrested on Wednesday night following a complaint lodged by one of the duped house seekers, a police source at Panti told our correspondents on Thursday.
Ishola was taken to his house for investigation by the police on Thursday morning and when he was brought back to SCID Panti in handcuffs, tenants who had stormed the place in protests began chanting: “ole ole ole”, a Yoruba word for thief.
The suspect, along with his son, Tunde, who acted as the main agent, swindled more than a hundred house seekers of hundreds of thousands of naira each for a house they rented at 59, Oriola Street, Alapere-Ketu.
The house had only 13 flats but the fraudsters continued to collect money from other individuals and when it was time to hand over keys to the new tenants, the landlord and agents disappeared.
At least 50 tenants came to Panti on Thursday morning after they learnt that the suspect had been arrested. They held placards and pleaded with the authorities to help them recover their money.
They had sent a petition to the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, for help.
They had also written a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“We want justice. We want our money back. We want government to seal the house, sell it and pay us back,” they chanted.
“We don’t want justice to fail us. We don’t want police to compromise. No one is bigger than the state. No one is above the law,” they said.
Officers handling the matter reassured our correspondents that it won’t be swept under the carpet and justice will be done.
At the time of filing this report, tenants had been asked to write individual petitions for the suspect to be prosecuted. The landlord’s son, Tunde, was still at large, police sources said.