A 15-year-old citizen of Republic of Benin, Sadia (surname unknown), has regretted her decision to seek the job of a housemaid with one Mrs Bunmi Oladele, a full-time housewife in Ibadan, Oyo State. With her face swollen and both eyes shut from the effect of beating, tears rolled down her cheeks as she lay on the bed at a hospital she was taken for treatment after she was battered by her mistress.
Crime Reports gathered that Mrs Oladele was arrested on Sunday, January 25, 2014, after neighbours noticed the housemaid’s swollen face, said to have been the result of the severe beatings from her mistress, and reported at the nearest police station. The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Eleyele Division, Olawole Ayoola, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, ordered the arrest of the woman.
Aside the swollen face, Sadia was said to have suffered burns on her chest as a result of hot water poured on her by the suspect. The girl’s offence, Crime Reports learnt, was that she didn’t know how to sweep very well.
Narrating her experience in the hands of her mistress, Sadia (15) from Benin Republic, told Crime Reports that she started working with Mrs Oladele about two months ago but came to Nigeria about a year ago. According to the girl,
“I spent about a year in Lagos working as a house help to an elderly woman whose children are based abroad. Sometimes in 2014, I left for my country for a celebration but when I returned to Nigeria, I didn’t go
back to my former boss. I was brought to Ibadan by my relation. My duties in my new boss’ house was to help her do house chores and cook. I don’t know my salary because it was not being paid to me.
She started beating me shortly after I started working
with her. She would hit my head against the wall and slap me hard, complaining that I did not know how to sweep. My face would swell up and recede again after some days.
“On January 20, 2015, the woman poured hot water on me. I had put water on the fire for her to bath her baby. When she woke up, she was very angry, saying that I didn’t sweep the floor very well. She started pouring the hot water on me and I was writhing in pain.
“ Not minding the pain, she splashed another quantity of water on my chest and I rubbed it, unknown to me that the skin peeled. When she saw the burns I sustained, she became very scared and said I should raise my dress.
“On Saturday January 24, 2015, she complained again that I did not sweep clean. Her excuse had always been that I didn’t know how to sweep well. She had been hitting my eyes for a long time before she descended on me on that Saturday again.
“Neighbours were aware of the maltreatment she was dishing out to me and they said they would inform the police but I advised them against it. But this time around, they went to report at the police station and when the police came, she said I should not open the door.
“The police called my name and eventually when they entered and saw me, they asked what was wrong with my eyes. Immediately, my boss replied that I defecated and threw it on some bricklayers working at the next plot to our residence when I threw the faeces over the fence. It was when we got to the police station that I opened up to the police officers that she was the one who beat and injured me.
“She put her car key and money in my bag and told a lie that I stole them. Even in Lagos where I worked before, I did not steal. Whenever I saw money while washing clothes, I would take it to Mama and she would pray for me, saying I was a good girl. She would advise me never to steal.
“Because she saw that I was honest, she bought a sewing machine for me and I started learning sewing. I had even started cutting materials before I travelled to my country for a break. My former boss bought a phone for me and when I was travelling, she bought clothes for my parents and gave me N5,000 to take care of myself during the celebration.
“Her children who were based abroad used to send me fine dresses and Mama would also buy dresses for me, so I had many dresses. But I was ill-advised not to return to the good woman. (She broke into sobs). My mother insisted that I should return to her but I listened to my friends who said I might be maltreated if I returned there. That was why I came to Ibadan.”
When interviewed by Crime Reports, all Mrs Oladele could say was “everything was a mistake.”
Expatiating on her statement, the woman said: “Ever since Sadia came, she would not work for me. When she was brought, the person who brought her collected N34,000 for four months salary. This
included N10,000 for transportation. In the morning I would be the one to sweep and wash my baby’s clothes.
“I could see no usefulness in her being with me. Even I used to back my baby myself. I complained to the woman who brought her and asked her to refund my money. But the woman said that the money had been sent to Benin Republic.
“After some time, I noticed that she was defecating all over the compound. There was a day she took my car key, two of my baby dresses and my N4,500. I called the woman who brought her and when she came, the girl confessed to her that it was one Togolese man who told her to give him my car key.
“On the fateful Saturday, January 24, in the evening, she went to where she used to defecate. That was what made me beat her.”
Though she initially denied pouring hot water on the girl, saying that hot water poured on Sadia when was removing a pot of water from the fire, the suspect later admitted that she bathed the girl with hot water, pleading that “it was a mistake”.
When contacted, the police spokesperson in Oyo State, Adekunle Ajisebutu, a DeputySuperintendent of Police, confirmed the story and said that the suspect would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.