In recent years, most Nigerian upper and middle class families have resorted to engaging domestic servants to help them take care of things at home.
Oftentimes, these servants are employed by their bosses without any background checks on them.
Some go to the extent of hiring domestic servants through agents, who more often than not, collude with these servants to killing their bosses with the intention to take their belongings.
Surprisingly, some even hire domestic servants online, which is even more dangerous, as some of these online companies do not even know much about the applicants on their platforms and can’t vouch for them.
Another source of concern is the fact that most of the domestic servants in highbrow areas across the country, are not even Nigerians, which makes it more difficult to track them when incident of murder or stealing occurs.
On May 21, 2019, the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, sentenced a Cameroonian maid, Leudjoe Koyemen Joel, to death for murdering her Nigerian employer, Mrs Dayo Adeleke.
Delivering the judgement, two years and five months after the crime was committed, Justice Adedayo Akintoye convicted Joel and ordered that he be hanged.
According to Justice Adebayo, the prosecution counsel proved beyond reasonable doubt a count of murder pressed by the state against the Cameroonian.
For the family of the late Dayo, justice may have been served, but it will not bring her back to life, as the vacuum that her death has created in the family can only be filled by her.
Also in May 2019, two security guards, Ayuba Idris and Tasiu Abubakar, were arrested in Kano and Sokoto States respectively for killing their boss, Mr. Richard Kwakye and his daughter, Tope, a young graduate waiting to be mobilized for the compulsory one-year national service, in Ondo State.
Both men according to the police, blamed the stimulus behind their actions on Tramadol and excess intake of Indian hemp.
The unfortunate death of Richard, a contractor and his daughter, is just an example of so many other cases of a domestic servant killing his or her boss either to steal from him/her or for other reasons.
To nip the current trend in the bud, we call on the Ministries of Justice and other relevant ministries across the states, to ensure proper documentation of agencies that provide services relating to hiring of domestic servants.
Those that operate online, should be made to set up recognizable offices where they can be contacted on face to face basis and failure to do so, the government should blacklist them and inform the general public not to have anything to do with them.
Also, stricter guidelines should be given to them for foregners who want to be hired as domestic servants. We suggest that for a non-Nigerian to be hired, one of the criteria should be that the person must have an international passport issued by his/her home country. This should be followed by a guarantor who will attest for this person and be held accountable in the case of any eventuality.
More so, Nigerians who wish to be hired, should be made to provide a government issued document such as driver’s licence, international passport, national identity card or voter card and a guarantor as well, before they can be considered to be hired.
Furthermore, the hirer should also be asked to submit these relevant documents.
The agencies should be made to submit these documents to the police for a background check before recommending them for hiring by a prospective boss.
We believe that when all these measures are put in place, it will not only ensure the security of the lives of those who hire domestic servants, it will also ensure the safety of the servants.