Sunday 3 September 2023

Police advice on proper background check while hiring domestic servants

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Idowu Owohunwa, has warned Nigerians to desist from hiring domestic servants without doing proper background checks.

He advised intending employers to carry out a thorough background check before employing unknown persons as domestic helps.

Owohunwa, who spoke on the sidelines of a recent parade of some suspects in Lagos, said that it was necessary to carry out a complete investigation of prospective employees to prevent harm and crime in the home.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there had been reported cases of domestic staff robbing and killing their employers in the state.

For instance, the case of Joseph Ogbu, who was sentenced to death on March 27, 2023, by a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, for killing his employer, Oreoluwa John, 38 and her mother, Adejoke, 89.

Ogbu stabbed Oreoluwa to death with a sharp object and strangled her mother to death two days after he was employed.

He robbed them of a Toyota Camry Saloon car, LG plasma TV, Motorway handset, one Gionee handset, one Nokia phone, one i-Tel Phone, and a power bank but was arrested by police on patrol while trying to escape.

Similarly, on March 18, a driver murdered his employer, an ex-Permanent Secretary with the Ogun State Government, Mr Femi Egbeoluwa and his wife, Funmi, at their residence in Ikeja, Lagos.

Preliminary investigation by the Police, however, revealed that £5,000 (N2.8 million) meant for late Egbeoluwa’s medical expenses abroad was stolen by the suspect.

Also, in the month of August 2023, the Police in Lagos arrested a driver, who stole his madam’s vehicle a few weeks after employment and sold it.

Through intelligence investigation, the police were able to trace and arrest him, only to discover that he was a major armed robber and an English pistol was recovered from him in his room where he stayed with his madam.

In the same August, the police arrested a “maiguard” (someone who guards the gate and building), who also stole his principal’s Mercedes Benz, took it to Owode, Ogun and sold it.

Also, through an intelligence network, the police traced him, arrested him and recovered the vehicle.

Owohunwa said: “This is a pointer that there is a need to undertake full vetting of the personal aides we engage.

“The closer they get to you, the more they know your secret and routine, the more vulnerable you become”.

According to him, the police can help in the investigation.

“If you are unsure, we always encourage citizens to partner with the police. we can assist in the vetting process,” he said.

In the same vein, a security expert, Mr Adebayo Daniel of Premierguard Security Ltd, said that there was a need for serious profiling to know the background of the person to hire as that would save employers trouble.

“Do not rush into hiring a helper, there is need to verify if the person is who he or she really claimed to be and the check should also reveal whether the person has records of criminal offences or had been jailed,” he said.

According to him, some helpers have no motive of working but only came into the house with an intention to steal or kill, some even molest or assault the children in their care.

Daniel said that issues concerning cash transactions and family achievement should never be discussed in the presence of housekeepers as such information could be used to rob or harm them.

He said that security gadgets such as Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) could be installed to monitor the activities of servants, adding that footage from such cameras had exposed many who did unimaginable and irrational things.

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