The Plight of House Helps / Domestic Servants

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The Plight of House Helps in nigeria

As Christ shows in the Scriptures, it is a good and godly thing to serve others. We can say, therefore, there is nothing wrong with being a servant, hired or not. Maltreating a servant is against the teachings of Christianity. That is why we condemn the abuse of domestic servants or those we bring into our homes and families as house helps.

Reports of unkind and inhumane treatment against this segment of our population seem to have increased. But we have also heard about some of the “house helps” causing trouble and confusion in families of those they have come to serve. Even so, they are the victims in many cases.

They are the ones who get slapped, kicked and beaten by ‘oga’ and ‘madam’. They are the underdogs who have to wait for crumbs to fall from the master’s table. And many of them are children, ten years and below. When it is not oga assaulting them sexually, it is madam branding them on the buttocks with hot iron.

At the slightest provocation, they are mercilessly beaten and pushed down the staircase. This is in addition to starving them, feeding them only with leftovers or “food” the madam would dire not give to her own children.

Some ‘madams’ do not keep to the unwritten agreement to send the helper to school. What some families do is to make sure the child goes out to sell ‘pure water,’ chickens, doughnuts, and such like first in the morning before going to school. That makes the child a perpetual latecomer to school,who is branded a ‘dummy’ and eventually quits school. This is wrong.

For many ‘oga’ and ‘madam,’ the house help is a ‘property’ or ‘possession,’ and not a human being with feelings, emotions and a future. The laws against child abuse are all encompassing and do not discriminate against house-helps or domestic servants. Even when the house helper is an adult, he or she still has rights.
It is wrong for anyone to treat another person like a slave in this day and age. These house-helps apart from being fellow Nigerians are human beings, created in God’s image. Society has a moral obligation to protect them.

If your neighbour is abusing a house help, challenge them or report to the appropriate authority. Being silent makes you an accomplice. We have a moral responsibility to be our brother’s keeper. Therefore, raise alarm, shout speak out, blow the whistle; call the police!