An agent, Francis Okputu, has been arrested by the operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad for allegedly luring a domestic help to steal her employer’s jewellery.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the 37-year-old Okputu specialised in bringing job seekers from his hometown to work as housemaids in Lagos.
In his confessional statement to the police, Okputu admitted to helping Lagos residents get housemaids as an agent and by linking up not less than 15 domestic help every year with prospective employers.
He confessed to getting half of the maids’ salaries as his commission, but began changing his tactics after his financial responsibilities increased.
He said, “I have been helping Lagos residents to get domestic help and everybody in my neighbourhood knows that that’s what I do. People also make recommendations and link me up with their relatives, who need my service.
“Sometime in May, a friend directed Joy Onoz to me to help her get a job as a housemaid, which I did and all was fine until the following month when she began calling me that her mistress did not like her and she would like me to do something about it.”
On getting to know that Onoz’s mistress was wealthy, Okputu allegedly began to think of means of fleecing the unsuspecting employer.
One day, he reportedly called Onoz and warned her not to speak English throughout their conversation and told her to steal her mistress’ money, jewellery and also help him get her picture, which she was to deliver to him at an undisclosed location.
He reportedly told Onoz that he would take the picture to a prophetess, who would help him bewitch the maid’s employer and make her not to question any of the maid’s actions after stealing her things.
He also instructed Onoz to replace the gold jewellery with copper.
Onoz, while narrating to policemen the agent’s move to fleece her employer, said she told her mistress of Okputu’s plans and they both played along with his arrangement.
The mistress gave Onoz some dollar notes, her jewellery and her picture, and told her to contact Okputu that she had successfully stolen some valuables.
The agent, unknowingly, instructed Onoz to meet him at Iyana-Ipaja to hand over the loot to him and that he would arrange how to get the counterfeit jewellery across to her to avoid any suspicion.
PUNCH Metro gathered that RRS operatives, who had been contacted by the employer, swung into action and laid an ambush for Okputu at the agreed location and he was arrested after receiving the loot.
Recovered from him at the point of exchange of the stolen items were $15, a set of gold jewellery worth N450,000 and the woman’s picture.
After his arrest, the decoy team of the RRS visited some housemaids, whom Okputu had planted in different parts of the state to question them if he had at one time or the other asked them to bring their employers’ valuables and also advised them to stay clear of any plan that was against the law.
The police also visited the said prophetess, who was to help Okputu hypnotise Onoz’s mistress and she disclosed that the last time she saw him was in February 2018, when he came for prayers and asked her to help hypnotise a woman, who employed one of his clients, but she refused his request and sent him out of her church.
The state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, in his reaction to the incident, directed the transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, and advised Lagos residents to be wary of whoever they employed as domestic workers to avoid the theft of their hard-earned belongings.