A 25-year-old woman, Happiness Dauda, has narrated how she almost died after she was allegedly brutally beaten and locked up in a toilet on May 13 by her 36-year-old employer, Binta Aminu, who had accused her of stealing her mobile phone.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Ms Dauda said she was beaten with a mopping stick, an electric cable, and a wooden spoon by Ms Aminu. She said her employer then locked her up in the toilet for six days without food.
According to Miss Dauda and a lawyer, Ejembi Eko, the incident resulted in her hospitalisation for over a month at the Wuse General Hospital in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital.
The case was reported to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on May 23, but two months after, Ms Aminu is yet to appear in court, although the agency has filed a case.
Speaking in Hausa language, Miss Dauda said she was working as a house help for another family in Gwarimpa, a suburb of the federal capital, when she was introduced to Ms Aminu.
Ms Aminu employed her on a monthly salary of N14, 000 and they agreed that the money would be kept by the employer to accumulate until Miss Dauda asked for it.
She said the alleged physical assault on her on May 13 happened three months after she took the job. After the incident, she said Ms Aminu chased her from the house with her injuries, gave her only N1, 000 and warned her never to set foot into the house again.
Miss Dauda said she was working in her employer’s house when she called and confronted her with allegations of stealing her mobile phone.
“I told her I had not taken the handset, but she insisted that I produce it, or else she would kill me,” the house help said.
“When I insisted that I did not take the phone, she picked up a mopping stick and started beating me with it.
“When the mopping stick broke, she got an electric cable and continued beating me with it. She vowed to kill me unless I produced her phone. She kept beating me until the electric cable too broke.”
Afterwards, Miss Dauda narrated, Ms Aminu pulled her into the toilet and asked her daughter to get a big, wooden spoon used for turning food in the cooking pot.
“She used the object to hit my legs, vowing to leave an indelible mark on my body. When she was tired, she locked me up in the toilet and went out.
“When she returned, she continued to beat me and said I would not be given food or drink while I was locked up in the toilet. I tried to wash my body, but each time I turned on the tap, she would rush in and start beating me again for using her water.”
Miss Dauda said her ordeal continued for the next six days until, eventually, Ms Aminu told her to leave her house.
“She seized my phone, made a video of herself calling me names and refused paying me for the three months I had worked,” Miss Dauda said.
She said Ms Aminu later called the person through whom she was employed and made him warn her not to ever return to her house or her shop in Wuse 2, Abuja. She said Ms Aminu later dropped her off on the road at Arab Junction at the centre of Abuja on May 19.
According to Miss Dauda, her condition attracted the sympathy of a motorbike rider who took her to her sisters’ residence.
A relative of Miss Dauda, David Dogo, who stayed with her at the hospital, told PREMIUM TIMES that for almost a month that she was on admission, Miss Dauda could not leave her bed.
A copy of the charge filed against Ms Aminu and seen by PREMIUM TIMES shows a one-count charge of alleged violation of section 2, (1) of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015.
The section states that: “A person who wilfully causes or inflicts physical injury on another person by means of any weapon, substance or object, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment; not exceeding five years or a fine, not exceeding N100, 000 or both.”
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Ms Aminu, she denied the allegations and said the matter was already in court, where she plans to state her side of the story.
A NAPTIP official also contacted by PREMIUM TIMES on July 19, Magnus Emeh, said he could not speak on the matter, but referred this reporter to the agency’s spokesperson.
Calls and messages by PREMIUM TIMES to the spokesperson, Stella Nezan, were not answered on July 19.
But a lawyer in charge of the matter at the agency, Justina Maliki, said the case is expected to be called on September 10, after judicial officers return from their annual vacation, expected to begin soon.