Metro & Crime

Madam disfigures sales girl with hot water

…husband strips victim, threatens to upload nude pictures on social media

A 29-year-old girl, Bukola Akinola, has narrated, in chilling details, how her madam, Alhaja Rashidat Adeleke, allegedly poured hot water on her, disfiguring her face. According to the victim, Adeleke (50), who has a shop on Governor’s Road in the Ikotun area of Lagos State, doused her with hot water because one of her bangles got damaged in the shop.

It was learnt that Akinola was employed by the woman in 2019 as a sales girl and used to pay her N15, 000 monthly. The lady, however, had to start living with her madam due to the high cost of transportation to and fro office on a daily basis.

Akinola alleged that since she started living with the woman, she seized every opportunity to beat her. The injured lady explained that after Adeleke poured hot water on her, the woman’s husband also joined in attacking her. Before the incident that led to Adeleke dousing the victim with hot water, the woman and her husband had earlier accused Akinola of gossiping to the newly employed manager about her. The manager was said to have resigned three days after resumption. Adeleke and her husband blamed Akinola.

Members of the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVP), got to know about the incident and decided to demand for justice on behalf of Akinola after a member of the victim’s family called the co-founder of ACVP, Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile. Adeleke’s husband allegedly stripped Akinola then proceeded to record her nudity.

He thereafter threatened to upload the video on social media if she dared to tell anyone that his wife poured hot water on her. “On May 28, two other sales girls, aged 10 and 14, fought at the shop, resulting in some bangles being damaged.

When we got home that fateful evening, Alhaja asked me how the bangles, which were on sale, got damaged by the younger sales girls. I responded that I had no idea of what happened. Alhaja then angrily dragged me into the kitchen, locked me inside and asked the younger sales girls if there was hot water available; they said no. My boss then asked them to boil water for her; she called me into the kitchen again and suddenly poured the hot water on my head. I tried to escape, but she stopped me. She boiled the second water and poured it on me. It was at that point I collapsed.

In spite of the fact that I was badly scalded, Alhaja went ahead to flog me repeatedly. “Alhaja said that being the eldest in the shop, it was my duty to separate the two younger girls when they were fighting. She said that if I had separated the girls, they wouldn’t have damaged the bangles. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t know when the girls were fighting. I have been working with her since 2019. She’s a very aggressive person. I was only managing her with the hope she would change. She refused to listen when those girls told her that I was not there when they were fighting.

She also refused to allow me to explain before bathing me with hot water. It was God who saved my eyes; else I would have become blind. The severity of the burnt I sustained was too much. I also sustained burns on my hand and other parts of my body,” Akinola said. Rather than take the sales girl to hospital, Adeleke allegedly locked her up in a room for a week.

“She didn’t want people to see the injuries on my face and head,” she said. Akinola added that Adeleke only brought a nurse on the first day of the incident to treat her. She said: “Since then, I have been the one treating myself in the room where I was locked up. It was in the room that I was able to snap pictures of my burn injuries and send them to my elder sister.

She showed them to my father, so that he would know what I was going through in my madam’s house. When my madam found out that I had been able to reach my father, she threatened to arrest him if he came to her house.” Akinola, who is still in the hospital, said she believed that it was after Adeleke’s husband saw her pictures on social media that he rushed to the room where she was locked up and gave her N5,000 to go and treat herself. She said: “He pleaded with me that if anyone saw me with the wound, I should tell them I fell down on the tiles. He also said that I should also not inform my parents that his wife poured hot water on me. He then promised to give me more money. It was on June 6, when the husband and wife were not at home, that I was able to escape from their house.

I ran to my parents in Abeokuta, Ogun State.” Akinola said the matter was then reported to his uncle working with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Ikeja. The uncle took the case up and reported the matter to the Gender and Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, for investigation. Akinola further alleged that Adeleke was fond of bringing under aged girls from the Republic of Benin to Nigeria, to work for her. She said that just like her, Adeleke used to maltreat the girls. She said: “Alhaja saw herself as untouchable just because her husband owns a filling station. She also used to claim that she knows people that matter in Nigeria.

I want justice for what she did to me. “Women such as Alhaja, who maltreat their workers, should not be allowed to go scot-free, to serve as a deterrent to others. “When we got to the SCIID, everybody rained curses on her and she just kept begging me, saying that it was the devil that caused it. I asked her if it was the devil, why didn’t she pour the water on herself.

She couldn’t utter a word. She was just weeping. My parents had spent a lot of money. I have been going and coming out of the hospital now on a daily basis. My prayer is that the injuries wouldn’t affect my eyes.” Our reporter called Adeleke’s phone line, to hear her own side of the story, but it was answered by a lady, who stated that Adeleke had travelled and that nobody knew when she would return. Omejalile, called for the prosecution of the Adelekes. He said: “When I was called about the case, I refused to believe it. I asked the mandated reporter to send me pictures of the survivor as evidence.

It was after I saw the pictures that I and other advocates got angry and decided to fight for her. Alhaja’s husband, who joined her in stripping and video recording the victim’s nudity while she was writhing in pain, is on the run. The husband has a filling station and seems to know many influential Nigerians.

These influential people have been trying to suppress the matter, but justice must be done. The innocent lady was working without a complaint, but she (Adeleke) asked her to move in with her because of the transport fare. Alhaja and her husband are guilty of the offence.

They beat her and took her nude pictures, and then threatened to upload the pictures on Facebook if she told anyone what happened to her. They should be prosecuted! This is a case of violence of a woman against a woman. It was God that saved her eyes, if not, she would have been blinded. The husband and the wife deserve severe punishment. The woman should also be prosecuted for child trafficking because we heard that she used to bring under aged girls to work for her.” When our reporter contacted the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, to know when the woman would be arraigned and if her husband had been arrested, he promised to call back after getting the facts of the case. However, at press time, Adejobi was yet to get back to our correspondent.

 

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