Operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad, a unit of the Lagos State Police Command, have arrested a house maid agent who allegedly specializes in assisting people to get maids with the motive of using them to steal and abscond with money, jewelry and other belongings of their employers.
Francis Okputu, 37, and a former drycleaner turned house help agent had been using his influence and wife’s to bring housemaids to Lagos.
Francis, whose mode of operation and agreement with the job seekers is to help them get maid jobs, where they will work as house help and domestic workers, collects half of their salaries for the first month as commission and had been doing this since 2003, predominantly on Lagos Mainland.
In his confessional statement with the police, he admitted helping people to get housemaids as an agent and ‘imports’ not less than 15 domestic workers every year.
“I have been helping Lagosians get house helps and everybody in my neighborhood knows that’s what I do and they also make recommendations and link me with their relatives who need my services.”
Francis added that sometime in May this year a friend directed one Joy Onoz to him to help her get a housemaid job, which I did and all was fine until the next month when she began to call me that her mistress does not like her.
Francis, on getting to know that Joy’s madam is wealthy, began to find means of looting the unsuspecting employer. He called Joy one day and warned her not speak English throughout their conversation and told her to steal her madam’s money, jewelry and also help him get her picture and deliver it to him at an undisclosed place.
The gold jewellery he told Joy would be replaced with copper and he will take the picture to a prophetess who will help him bewitch and make her not to question any of the girl’s deed after stealing her things.
Joy, while talking to policemen about her agent’s move to loot her employer, quickly told her madam of Francis’ plans and they played along with his arrangement. The mistress gave Joy some hard currencies and jewelry and her picture and told her to contact Francis that she had successfully gotten the valuables.
Francis, unknowingly, instructed Joy to meet him at Iyana-Ipaja to handover her loot to him and that he would arrange how to get the fakes across to her by doing imitations of the jewelry to avoid any suspicion. Officers who had been contacted by the employer swung into action and laid siege to Francis at the agreed location where he was arrested.
After his arrest, the decoy team of RRS visited some housemaids whom Francis had installed in different parts of the State to question them if he had one time or the other asked them to bring their employers’ valuables and also advised them to steer clear of any plan that is contrary to the law.
The police also visited the said prophetess who was to help Francis hypnotize Joy’s mistress and she disclosed that the last time she saw him was in February 2018 when he came for prayer and asked her to help hypnotize a woman who employed one of his clients, but she refused and sent him out of her church because she doesn’t indulge in such practice as a servant of God.
Recovered from Francis when Joy was trailed to Iyana Ipaja, the point of exchange for the stolen items, were $15, sets of gold jewelry worth N450,000 and a picture.
The Commissioner of Police, CP Adamu Muazu, in his reaction to the incident, directed the transfer of the case to State CID office and advised Lagosians to be conscious of who they employ as domestic staff to avoid theft of their hard-earned belongings.