Veteran Nigerian singer Onyeka Onwenu has been accused of assault by a business woman, Mrs Olajoke Adesipe who petitioned the National Human Rights Commision (NHRC) reporting that she was forcefully ejected from her shop at the National centre for Women Development, Garki, Abuja.
Mrs Adesipe in the letter claimed that the security officials who threw out her wares were acting on the order of Onyeka, who is the current Director-General of the Women Development centre.
The business woman, who sells textiles, said she was a yearly tenant, adding that her current tenancy would not end until December, 2014.
The petition reads, “On January 21, 2014, I heard that the DG might likely eject me even when my rent is still valid.”
Adesipe said she got a letter to vacate the premises within three days on January 28,2014, adding that another letter was served on February 4, in which the centre threatened to go to court. She explained further that she wrote a letter to Onwenu on February 6, and sent her a text message three days later seeking an audience. The DG gave her an appointment for the following day.
Following up on the appointment she met other members of the management team at Onwenu’s office and she narrated her story. The musician apologised and said that a formal apology letter would be written by the centre to her adding that she would be relocated to the shopping complex.
“On February 13, I got a call from Onwenu asking why I had not moved out of the shop and I told her that nobody had given me an allocation letter for the new shop as she promised.
“She said if I failed to move out by February 14, she would send for the State Security Service to chase me out…On February 14, I was at the centre early. I heard that Onwenu, in company with her security personnel, had forced my shop open. I ran there and saw her supervising the forceful ejection without any prior court or police order,” Adesipe stated in the petition.
She explained that she took pictures of the scene with her phone and Onwenu directed that her phone should be seized. Adesipe said while struggling for her phone, she was beaten and dragged on the ground, while her cloth and bags were torn.
The Legal Adviser of the Women development centre, Mohammed Suleiman however explained that Adesipe was not a legal tenant of the centre. He explained that she occupied a part of the auditorium, which she was not legally allocated though she paid N100,000 to the management of the hotel in charge of the hall.
Suleiman said the centre asked Adesipe to relocate to another shop because President Goodluck Jonathan was visiting on February 14.
“She was allocated shop 0.11 at the Oyibo Odinamadu Mall, but she complained that she would prefer a shop on the ground floor. The DG directed that she be given a shop downstairs and she was given shop 0.10. She also declined to take the keys…It was apparent that she wanted to create a scene during the Presidential visit. The security directed that her ware be removed and the instruction was effected.” – Suleiman said.
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