JOY Adole Aboel, a teenager from Benue State, has reportedly died at the Lagos residence of her mistress, Nene Steve, where she worked as a maid. The mistress and her husband had reported the incident as a suicide at Bariga police station but the police would not be hoodwinked for too long as the homicide detectives on arrival at the scene of the incident observed quite a few things that made them suspect foul play. For instance, the police noticed the close position of the corpse to the ground and,more importantly, that the deceased was still standing while a rope was hanging on her neck, a scenario that is far-fetched in a typical suicide by hanging. Again, a closer observation of the deceased, according to the police, revealed bruises and lacerations on her body which were signposts of recent violent assault, battery and torture. For these reasons, the police have arrested the couple and are working on the allegation that Joy Adole was most probably killed and then hung to fake suicide. This is horrendous, if true.
The hapless girl was hired in January and was being paid N15,000 a month but was reportedly being owed wages. She had come to Lagos to be able to earn money with which she could continue her education but unfortunately, her life was cut short in the process. Her boss had reportedly caught her stealing a sachet of noodles and if the allegation by the victim’s family is true, she was so infuriated that she beat and tortured the poor girl to death. If Joy Adole was actually tortured to death, contrary to the claim that she committed suicide, then her killers must not be allowed to go scot-free under any guise.
It is concerning that some Nigerians have developed the penchant for abridging the fundamental human rights of their househelps as if they are worthless and incapable of filling any gap in their lives; yet they keep engaging them. The unwillingness to accord househelps any human dignity is not limited to couples who live in Nigeria; many who took their househelps abroad are also known to treat them harshly. But the difference is that in the civilised climes, such criminal acts once reported or discovered are treated with dispatch,and the culprits severely punished under the law. Some Nigerians are currently serving or had served jail terms abroad because they wilfully impaired the rights of their domestic servants.
It is unclear how and when such persons came to this sorry pass, because in the traditional African culture, everyone was his brother’s keeper. At a point in time, the less privileged that came from the villages to the cities to serve the affluent were neither brutalised nor decimated; rather,they were treated well and given opportunities by their employers to improve their lives. Today, however, there is a rapid whittling down of the time honoured and cherished collective humanity of citizens. It is now everyone to himself while some have even worsened the state of affairs by walking the despicable path of heartlessness and brutality in handling the poor.
It is imperative to reiterate that many househelps are currently victims of the oppressive actions of their masters/mistresses who treat them as sub-humans, visiting on them physical and emotional violence on a daily basis. But many of such criminal and morally reprehensible acts often go unreported,especially if they do not result in grave consequences like the case at issue. We therefore urge the police to painstakingly investigate this case and prosecute it diligently. And the relevant authorities may need to make a public show of it so that masters/mistresses who are tyrannical in their relations with their househelps will have a good cause to reconsider their deplorable behaviour.
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