Teacher Sues Dead Man Over Rent

A man, Chimezie Ojukwu, who died on Sept. 10, 2010, has been sued at a Jos Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly owing his landlord a year’s rent.

Ojukwu allegedly owed N42,000, being the annual rent of a shop he operated between December 2009 and November 2010.

The landlord, Mr. Cyril Okoye, of Apata Quarters, Jos, on Monday told the court that Ojukwu did not pay the rent before he died.

According to him also, none of Ojukwu’s relations has shown up to pay the outstanding rent.

The case, which is before Chief Magistrate Jacob Atsen, was filed last December.

When the case came up for mention on Monday, the chief magistrate expressed surprise at the attitude of the teacher for suing a man he knew was dead.

“I am surprised really; how do we get to serve the summons and get the accused to answer to the charges?” Atsen wondered.

The plaintiff, however, told the court that it was the dead tenant who signed the tenancy agreement papers, so he felt it had to be him that he must sue.

But the magistrate told the plaintiff that as far as the defendant had relations, it might not be out of place if he was substituted with one of them.

Atsen said that he merely wanted to help the complainant, otherwise “I would have simply struck out the case.

“It is abnormal for anyboy to sue a dead person in court.

“You can substitute his name with any of his relations so that we can continue with the prosecution of the case.”

Okoye then gave the name of the deceased’s mother, one Mama Chimezie, who would be served the summons.

He told the court that in spite of the one year rent owed, the deceased’s family allegedly locked the shop and disappeared since January 2011.

The magistrate ordered the new defendant who would stand in for the late accused to be served and adjourned the case to April 4.