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|House Helps And The Nigerian Middle Class by BiteofBenin: 1:02pm On Nov 28, 2017|
Whenever I read news reports of the inhumane treatments being meted to teenage house helps, I wonder what has gone wrong with Nigeria’s middle class.
Just last week, a 13-year-old housemaid, Nkechi Oseh, was rescued by the police from forced imprisonment in Anthony Village, Lagos. Oseh had been locked indoors for two weeks by her boss, Betty Ifeoma, who had travelled out of the country. The teenager’s food for the duration was two packets of cabin biscuits and drink, toilet water.
This report came just as Nigerians were still recovering from the attempted murder o f a 15-year-old help who was thrown down a two storey building by her boss, Mrs. Motunrayo Ayadi, in Surulere. Ayadi had accused her help, Deborah Matthews, of stealing money and jewelry worth N1m. Across many homes, mostly middle class, the decimation of the poor is a daily routine.
I have been witness to some of these scenarios. I recall an elderly couple occupying a three bedroom bungalow with a teenage houseboy. They would lock the boy out of the house whenever they went out, and leave him to the elements till they return.
This young boy literally had a 20 hour workday. Part of his duties is to assist the couple in selling their wares. He would be on his feet for hours on end, regardless of the presence or absence of customers.
Perhaps these acts of cruelty are meant to be some form of discipline for the help. But to what end? Why treat a person worse than an animal because he is born poor? Refusing your house help a bed to sleep on, good food to eat, decent clothes to wear and even education or a trade, would that make them better servants? The level of physical violence some madams inflict on their helps is the stuff of German concentration camps.
Yet when we hear stories of house helps who murder or maim their masters and, or their masters’ children, we scream 'These household helps are wicked!'. Has it occurred to us that kindness begets kindness, and vice versa? Is it possible that a human being you maltreat on a daily basis would have any concern for your welfare and that of your family?
It is my belief that one of the major drivers of this trend is the desire by the middle class, many of whom come from poor backgrounds, to create a distinction between themselves and their employees. In a desperate bid to reassure yourself that you have ‘arrived,’ you become another version of Idi Amin.
You go out of your way by words and actions to tell your house helps that you are not in the same class. Is that necessary? Which sane parent with the means to take care of his/her child, would give out that same child as a help?
It is cruel, inhuman and despicable to maltreat a child who has left her home to work in your custody. Starving your help, beating them with irons and other dangerous objects is not discipline; that is simply you unleashing your inner Lucifer. It is more merciful to send away an unruly help than use them as a sadistic means of defining your social status.
|Re: House Helps And The Nigerian Middle Class by ifyalways(f): 1:11pm On Nov 28, 2017|
Do not have a child you cannot cater for.
Stop encouraging people to keep pregnancies they don't want and cannot cater for.
The Era of "Just have the child, God will take care of it" Yada Yada is over.
The only true way out of child "househelp" and abuse. No one sends away a child s/he can comfortably cater for to stay with any aunty/uncle.
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