Police arrest Chinese couple for allegedly locking up 8 Nigerian employees

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A Chinese couple has been arrested by the FCT Police Command for allegedly locking up their Nigerian domestic staff against their consent for four months.

According to information gathered, the domestic workers were locked up in the couple’s apartment and are not allowed to go out for any reason.

Should they sneak out and their employers get to know, they get punished with a salary deduction.

This is said to have been going on since the Coronavirus lockdown in Nigeria until the incident was reported to the Human Rights radio station by a concerned resident of the community.

The report prompted the personnel of the Utako Divisional Police Station who moved in and successfully rescued the eight domestic workers from the couple’s residence in the Jabi area of Abuja.

The couple and their domestic staff were thereafter taken to the station.

As gathered from footage provided by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, the victims narrated that they have been locked up in the apartment since February.

One of the ladies in the video said they (domestic workers) were not allowed to move out of the building and even when she took ill, the couple first refused to allow her to go for treatment until she got angry and forced them to open the door.

She added in her narration that the employers deducted their salaries if they ventured out of the building for any reason.

She stated: “When I was seriously sick, I asked these people (Chinese employers) to open the gate for me, but they refused until I became very angry before they opened the door. I know my life may be at risk but I don’t mind, let the world know what is happening.

“They told us that if someone was going out, he could help buy something for us, but when this man (referring to a colleague) went out to buy sachet water, they deducted his salary. What do they want us to do?

“We had to stay in the room and talk to people through the windows. They didn’t give us food; apart from the salary, they didn’t give us anything; they even cut our salaries.”

The deduction of salary and lock-up was also supported by Alex, the driver of the Chinese couple.

“They never allowed us to go out since February; if any of us went out and they know, a certain percentage of the person’s salary would be deducted.

“Even on Monday when this man (pointing at one of his co-workers) sent someone to buy water, N500 was deducted from his salary that was yet to be paid,” he narrated.

However, sources quoted by newsmen said the domestic staff have begun to sing a different tune, making it difficult for the Police to continue the investigation.

The staff are reported to have told the Police at the station that they were not forcefully detained by their employers.

“We were surprised by the refusal of the Nigerians to narrate the details of their ordeal to the police. All of them claimed that they chose to stay with the Chinese couple without coercion, but that was not the information that prompted our visit to the apartment. From the look of things, there may be more to what they are telling us,” a police source said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, disclosed the Chinese couple have been released on bail but an investigation had commenced into the incident.

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