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How Chinese Couple Held Their Domestic Staff Hostage For Four Months In Abuja

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The police in Abuja have arrested a Chinese couple for allegedly locking up their Nigerian employees in their apartment for the past four months.

The rescue of eight domestic workers and arrest of the couple on Tuesday came after a concerned resident reported the incident to the Human Rights radio station.

In footage provided by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, the victims said they had been locked up in the apartment since February.

A lady who spoke on condition of anonymity said the domestic workers were not allowed to move out of the building and that the couple refused to allow her to go for treatment when she took ill.

She said:

“When I was seriously sick, I asked these people (the Chinese couple) 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 (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 couple’s driver, simply identified as Alex, said he and the seven others had been working against their will for the couple since the outbreak of COVID-19 in February.

According to Alex:

“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 has yet to be paid.”

Another domestic staff said the sum of N3,000 was deducted from his salary.

Meanwhile, the spokesman, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah has confirmed the incident, adding that investigation had commenced.

The police, however, said the couple had been released on bail.

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