Busayo, who is among 35 ladies that just returned from Oman on Friday is looking for ways to leave the nightmares that had become her life.
According to Busayo, one really needs to be cautious and careful when planning to leave a madam or master, in order to avoid being killed.
She said: “I had to lie to my madam, Sherifat, that my child in Nigeria was sick. I told her that I needed to travel to Nigeria to check my child. Our madams are usually in possession of our visas and passports. If they don’t hand those items to you, you wouldn’t be able to travel. Once you landed in Oman, those items are forcibly collected from you.
“I cried for days to make Sherifat believe my story. I didn’t eat for three days. Normally, if you want to leave, you must not eat or your Oman boss could poison you. A Nigerian lady died on a plane to Nigeria."
When she was leaving, her madam gave her a pizza. She died in the plane before it got to Nigeria. The lives of Nigerians are not worth much to citizens of Oman. Many of our ladies are dying in Oman and many are stark raving mad.”
Another shocking revelation from Busayo is that she was tricked and trafficked by a pastor. She said that in her wildest imagination, she wouldn’t have believed that a man of God could trick and sell her. Men of God are symbols of piety and trust.
Although she doesn’t know the pastor’s full name and the name of his church, she, however, said that she could locate the church at Ikotun Egbe, Lagos State. She also said that the cleric is popularly called ‘Pastor Solomon.’
The Executive Director Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, a lawyer, who has taken Busayo under her wings and presenting trying to rehabilitate her, vowed to leave no stone unturned in hunting down Pastor Solomon with police, in order to make him pay for his crimes.
Recollecting how she came to meet Pastor Solomon, Busayo, a hairstylist, said that she had been saving for years in order to travel to Dubai.
Her heart latched onto Dubai after a friend, Kehinde, also a stylist, went to work in Dubai for a year.
Kehinde appeared successful after she returned. Busayo believed that she too could do better.
She recounted: “I asked Kehinde how the country was; she said it was a good country. No, I didn’t ask her why she came back.”
Busayo started making plans to travel; it was in that process a friend heard about her plans and linked her to Pastor Solomon.
The friend told her that the pastor was known for preparing travelling documents for people going overseas.
Busayo said: “I told the pastor that I wanted to go to Dubai to work. He asked why Dubai. He said that there were several other countries where I could work and receive a good salary.
"He said he could help me to get Oman Visa. He said I would go there to work as a house help and that the salary was 350, dollars. I felt the salary was fine, so I accepted. He told me that to prepare the documents and get visa, amongst other things would cost me N250, 000. But at the end of the day, I paid more than that.
"While I paid Pastor Solomon here, I didn’t know that he had sold me to a cartel in Oman for 300,000 dollars. When I realised I had been played by Pastor Solomon, I called him from Oman, but he shouted that I shouldn’t disturb him and hung up.”
Busayo embarked on the journey to Oman in January 23, but the travelling process started in October 2016. The visa took almost three months to be readied.
Busayo said: “Pastor Solomon convinced me to go to Oman; I didn’t know it was a country that uses people, especially Nigerians as slaves. The people that bought me are like a central office or employment firm. That’s where you would land first, and from there, they would assign you to a madam or master, where you would work.
"Although Pastor Solomon told me that the salary would be 350, dollars, when I got there, I discovered the salary was just 150 dollars. We heard that Nigerian agents were given balance of the money.
“People of Oman are a bunch of lazy people; they can’t do anything without house helps, yet they are very wicked people. They worked us to the bones and when you complain, you are attacked and beaten mercilessly.”
She was given to a family of eight. The name of her madam is Sherifat. She described the house of her madam as a mansion, with enough rooms, but she was made to sleep outside.
“I don’t have a room, I was instructed to sleep upstairs. It’s like a balcony outside,” recalled Busayo. “Once a maid arrives, the madam would be nice to her, but after a week, she would show her true, wicked colour.
I was among 35 Nigerian ladies that returned from Oman last week. I stayed almost 10 months there. We were not allowed to see anyone. The central office, which bought and assigned us, used to beat us whenever we complained of being overworked. We go to bed late and wake early to start working nonstop.”
Busayo, who said that other Nigerian ladies were trafficked into sex slavery in Oman, described herself as lucky.
She said that she was made to wash several cars, gates to the house, clothes, cook, and water trees amongst other chores. Although she was in charge of cooking, she was often starved.
She said: “I couldn’t cook and steal some food to eat because a Close Circuit Television (CCTV) was installed to monitor everything I did. Sherifat is a very wicked woman.”
When she realised that she could no longer cope and needed to leave, Busayo came up with the ruse that her child was sick and desperately needed her. Initially, Sherifat refused to release her, but later capitulated after Busayo vowed to her that she would return.
“God knows I’m not going back. Sherifat owed me three months’ salary. I told her that I didn’t have money, that she should use part of my money with her to pay my flight ticket. She used two months salaries for that; she did all that because she believed I would return to her.”
The lady, who revealed that male bosses often forced their Nigerian servants into having sex with them, said that her boss, Sherifat’s husband, Hammed, tried such moves on her.
She threatened to attack and report him to the police. “Since then, he kept away from me. There are many Nigerian ladies trafficked into prostitution,” she said.
Busayo said that many ladies in Oman, have different horrible stories of survivals to tell. She told the story of a Nigerian lady, who wanted to leave after working with her Oman madam for a year and five months.
The woman wasn’t happy with the idea. She tried to talk the lady out of leaving, but the Nigerian servant remained adamant.
The madam then promised her to the ticketing office, to book her return flight to Nigeria. When they got there, the madam called and handed her over to the police, claiming that the lady stole her gold.
“She was locked up in prison for two months and forced to bath with salt water. After she was released, I saw her. She used to be very fair, but her skin looked terrible,” said Busayo.
She added: “Oman is not a good country; they hate and call Nigerian slaves. Some Nigerian ladies are working in different farms in Oman, milking cows from morning till night. When you hear Oman, please just run for your life.”
Akiyode was visibly troubled by Busayo’s narration. She worried that if proper rehabilitation and financial assistance were not given to the victims to begin a new life in Nigeria, many may be forced to go back to Oman.
Thus without much ado, Akiyode, urged Busayo to come to her office with other ladies that returned from Oman. While Busayo is trying to contact the victims, Akiyode started fine-tuning her plans on how to go after Pastor Solomon.
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