Personal Stories

Between a ‘Woman of God’, a Maltreated House Help and a Woman Who Stood For Justice


This is not a photo of Florence

“How do you take so much from someone with so little?” That is the story of a widow who maltreated her house help and seized her belongings when she said she was leaving her home.

TV writer, Ijeoma Ogwuegbu Udum, who shared the story said that the woman started playing the widow’s card when the police was involved.

This is a true life story. Not a Tv script.

She tweeted,

Nigerians complain everyday about how the govt is oppressing us, but we oppress those we feel are beneath us. Mama Blessed, a woman who lives in my area, asks Gloria, my house keeper, to help her get someone to work for her. Gloria brings Florence, All The way from Plateau.

Florence works for Mama Blessed for one month, waking up at 4am and going to bed at 12am, sometimes 1am. At the end of one month, she tells Mama Blessed that she can’t cope anymore with the hours of work and she would like to leave. Mama Blessed refuses to pay Florence…

…seizes all her clothes plus her phone, telling her that when she has time, she will look through her own property to see if Florence stole anything.Florence is forced to leave Mama Blessed’s house with just the dress on her back, which she ends up wearing for the next 3 days.

Everytime she calls Mama Blessed, Mama Blessed claims she’s too busy to check through her things, so she can’t give Blessed her property yet. On the 3rd day after Florence left Mama Blessed, I go with her to Mama Blessed.

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Mama Blessed is rude as can be, telling me the girl has no right to suddenly decide to leave when she did. I explain to Mama Blessed that the girl is her own person, has a right to her own decisions. The girl has said she forfeits the salary in lieu of whatever notices.

Mama Blessed insists she’s too busy to give the girl back her things and will do it at her own time. We exchange words and we leave. This is more than a week later. Today, I went to the police station with the girls. The police put a call through to Mama Blessed, asking to come.

So Mama Blessed showed up at the police station with her friend and was asked by the officers to narrate her side. She didn’t say much different from what I did. The only thing she added to her story, which was a lie, was that she told the girls to come on Saturday…

…so she could check through her things to make sure nothing was missing. She kept making it seem as if it was the girl who didn’t want to come collect her things, and kept repeating how busy she was. Unfortunately for her, the police were not buying anything she was saying.

Meanwhile, her friend seemed to be there with the sole aim of downplaying what she had done. And also insisting that there was no need for us to be at the police station. We could just go home and ‘settle’ this…

and her definition of settling was for the girls to wait again till Saturday, when Mama Blessed would be less busy. The police officers rightly put the blame at her feet, telling her she had made a huge mistake by taking Florence’s property against her will…

…without any cause and then failing to make time to do what she needed to do to get the poor girl her things. They then spent the next 30 mins, trying to convince her to go get the things, with Mama Blessed insisting that she was too busy and could only make time on Saturday.

It was punctuated by Mama Blessed & her friend taking turns to insult me. At one point, she called me a ‘bloody tenant’, which made me nearly die laughing. Finally fed up, the police woman said, “Madam, nobody is too busy for police wahala. We are going to your house right now.”

SEE ALSO: 14 year-old Househelp Writes A Heartbreaking Letter To Her Madam Whose Husband Has Been Drugging And Raping Her

D police escorted us to her house, where she then brought out Florence’s bags. She now insisted that Florence must return the 4 dresses and one towel her daughter had given Florence. Even though her daughter actually gave Florence the dresses as payment for making her hair.

She also insisted on taking back a backpack that Florence had picked out from their trash and mended. The police women were stunned at her actions. This was when they concluded that Mama Blessed was definitely a wicked soul.

They now turned around and said, no, Florence would no longer be forfeiting her salary. That Mama Blessed would pay it back, come hell or high water. She was asked to come back to the police station with us, to continue the conversation.

Mama Blessed disappeared. Her friend now started calling the police officers, begging that there was no need for Mama Blessed to return to the police station. When asked when Mama Blessed would pay the money, her friend suddenly remembered that Mama Blessed was a poor widow…

…without much, so it might take her some time (And Mama Blessed had now decided that no, the Salary she was actually supposed to pay the girl was 10,000 naira, not 15,000 naira as originally agreed.) Police said if she didn’t come, she would be treated as a ‘suspect’.

The police said the matter would continue tomorrow. But a few minutes ago, Mama Blessed’s sister called Gloria and Florence separately, threatening them for having her sister ‘arrested’, saying that any time she sees them around the neighbourhood, she would kill them.

I took her number and called her, and Mama Blessed’s sister repeated the same threat to me, saying she would kill all of us for daring to mess with her sister. I immediately called the OIC, and told her.

OIC was stunned, especially because Mama Blessed’s friend was still just on the phone a few minutes earlier, begging on Mama Blessed’s behalf. She assured me that the case would not go away. Tomorrow, we will handle the would-be murderer. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Did I forget to mention that Mama Blessed is a ‘woman of god’?

Preparing to go out to the police station this morning, but I just wanted to add a few things to this thread, about what we as friends, neighbours and just randoms can do to change some of these awful things we see. I’ll use Mama Blessed’s friend as an example.

She was so stuck in her belief that Mama Blessed inherently deserved special treatment, better than Florence, for simply being who she is. She got really upset when the police women told her friend she was in the wrong, accusing them of ‘intimidation’.

When the policewomen asked her what she meant by that, she said, “Florence had her own money with her. Mama Blessed allowed her to leave with it. Doesn’t that show she’s not a bad person?” She really believed that everything Florence was and owned, belonged to Mama Blessed.

SEE ALSO: Maid Confesses To Using Rats To Cook Jollof Rice For Her Boss

At a point, she tried to play the “you people are oppressing a poor widow card. Can’t you pity her condition?”. This pissed the policewomen off mightily. There were 5 of them there. Apparently 3 of them were widows, one whose husband died less than a month earlier.

When Mama Blessed kept insisting she was too busy, I suggested our area was less than 5 mins away, and we could be done in 20 mins, she turned on me, calling me everything from pig, to saucy, to ugly. All because I was on the wrong side of the class divide she wanted to draw.

You can stand with your friend, but when you see something that is clearly evil, speak up. You could be just one catastrophic event away from the position of the person you’re assisting your person in oppressing. Like our people say, e fit be you o.

The other reason Florence wanted to leave was that they originally agreed she would learn a trade. But Florence realized her work hours with Mama Blessed made that impossible. She now works with my neighbour and is hoping to raise enough money soon to pay to learn sewing.

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