By Adewumi Ademiju, Ado Ekiti
An Ado-Ekiti-based Muslim cleri, Alhaji Abdul Rahman Sanusi has denied complicity in assault, stealing and damages in a land dispute with a magistrate.
The cleric had in December last year been imprisoned over the issue.
Rahman Sanusi, who is Ekiti State Amir l Ulaman (Commander of Muslims and Alfas in Ekiti), told our correspondent in Ado Ekiti that he was completely innocent of the offence for which he was jailed.
Sanusi who explained that his experience in prison showed that there are many innocent people in custody for flimsy reasons, emanated from unknown and accidental causes, said he purchased one acre of land in Olorunsogo area of Ado Ekiti on which he built eleven flats of two bedroom backed with valid documents including Certificate of Occupancy, land receipt, survey plan, among others.
He said the couple came one day claiming that they had bought a plot of land within his acre for N100.000 expressing surprise on the development since he had fenced the land with building foundation on it seven years earlier with valid documents Sanusi said as a religious leader, he sought for a peaceful resolution of the dispute, but was surprised that he was dragged to court and slammed with charges of assault, damages and stealing as the couple had threatened to use their influence deal with him.
He said” The case was taken to a magistrate court where I was accused of assault, using cutlass to attack them, stealing of Nokia phone on the land premises, whereas I presented to the court the pictures where they were destroying the building I erected on the land, but all to no avail.
“I was told at the court that the pictures were exhibits. The judgement was delivered on December 16th, 2016. The judge said he did not deliver judgment on land issue but ‘assault’. I was sentenced to three months imprison for assault, damages and stealing.
“I didn’t commit any assault. My position as a religious leader in the state is so sensitive that I dare not hurt a fly! Not even fellow human being. For instance you can imagine that I steal Nokia phone, when my children are using phones that are better off. What an embarrassment!
“It is high time for our judiciary to hammer on calling a spade a spade and disallow the negative influence of manipulation. From my experience in the prison, I discovered that a lot are there in the prison because of flimsy reason or unknown accidental causes.”