•Family accuses NAPTIP of negligence
By Esther Onyegbula
17-year-old Roda Timothy, was full of expectations when she left her home state in Plateau for Lagos, last year. She had hoped to secure employment, earn a decent living and be in a position to help her family back home.
However, her lofty dreams were shattered barely few days after she was employed as a maid. She was allegedly raped and impregnated by her Lebanese boss who later kicked her out of his house when all his efforts to abort the pregnancy failed.
Her boss popularly called Hussein, works as a professional chef for highbrow companies in Lagos and resides on Allen Avenue, Ikeja agreed to pay Roda N10, 000 monthly. Two months after impregnating her, Hussein sacked her after paying her a paltry sum of N19,000 for the two months she worked for him.
Roda who pleaded passionately that her photograph should not be taken then narrated how it all happened: “I started working with the man as a maid immediately I came to Lagos. He agreed to pay me N10,000 monthly as my salary. When I packed into the house, my boss was not around but he came back two days later from his work place.
How I was raped
“On this particular day, my boss was about to leave the house when his brother asked me to go and meet him and collect some money to purchase food items for the house. I knocked on his door, he answered and asked me to come inside. When I entered, I told him that his brother asked me to collect money to purchase food items. He said okay and got up from where he was sitting, and pretended as if he wanted to get the money before he grabbed me forcefully. I struggled with him and was shouting but he over powered me and raped me.
Second round of rape
“The following month when I discovered that I had missed my monthly circle, I informed him about it but instead of finding solution to it, he raped me a second time. I then kept disturbing him about the growing pregnancy. What he did was to send me to a nearby chemist with a prescription but the attendant refused to attend to me without his presence. He later went with me and bought some drugs which he asked me to take to abort the pregnancy. I took the drugs but nothing happened. After some days, he bought another set of drugs which I took, yet, nothing happened.
I then became very worried and was disturbing him to find a solution to the problem he caused. That was when he started threatening me and later sacked me after paying me N19,000.
I was so afraid that when I went back to my brother who brought me to Lagos, I didn’t tell him that I was pregnant for my boss. I was just praying that the pregnancy will just disappear but it did not. Unknown to my brother that I was pregnant, he got me another job where I worked for four months as a maid before my new employer discovered that I was pregnant and told my brother.”
Her brother speaks
“Roda’s brother, Joshua also narrated his story to Crime Guard. According to him, “It was January this year that we discovered she was pregnant. Her stomach was still flat and we had to take her for scan. It was then she revealed that her former boss,Hussein, was responsible for her pregnancy. So, we went to Hussein’s house to confront him but he denied being responsible for the pregnancy. We therefore reported the case to the Immigration Department in Ikeja and on February 9, 2016, he was arrested but was later released.
From Immigration to NAPTIP
“From immigration department, my sister was taken to the National Agency For The Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP. Initially, officials of NAPTIP said she would be with them until she delivers but last week, officials of the agency came and asked me to come and take my sister back as she will soon deliver. The pressure and threats from NAPTIP became too much to the extent that I don’t know whether they are protecting the interest of my sister who was abused by a foreigner or that of the foreigner”.
Joshua lamented the atrocities perpetrated by some expatriates resident in Nigeria, saying “ these atrocities continue unabated because the government and relevant authorities ignore the plight of helpless victims who are at their mercy,”he stated.
When Crime Guard visited the residence of the Lebanese, Mr Hussein in Ikeja, he was not around but a lady in the house promised to inform him about our visit and get back to us.
Promise by Hussein’s nephew
The next morning, one Mr Hassan called claiming to be the nephew of Mr Hussein Ali. He said his sister informed him of our visit to his residence the previous day. According to him, whatever happened between his Hussein and Roda was a mistake and that they were doing everything within to resolve the issue while Hussein has agreed to take care of Roda until she gives birth. He however added that a DNA will be carried out to determine the paternity of the baby but the family will not refuse to take responsibility. “We are doing everything to ensure she delivers safely,” he added.
NAPTIP remains elusive
However, when Crime Guard visited Ikeja Zonal office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Director was said to have traveled out of Lagos on official duty. A lady who claims to be the Public Relations Officer of the Agency informed Crime Guard that the Zonal director was the only authorized officer who can speak with the press on the issue. She then collected phone contacts and promised to arrange a meeting with the director once he gets back. But she didn’t get back till date. Further efforts made to contact her proved abortive.