By Francis Eeherido
I watch the television channel, Crime and Investigation, regularly for entertainment, but more for education.
I have learnt quite a lot from the series. Listening to and reading the account of Sunday Afobale, the cook who allegedly murdered his master, Chief Ope Bademosi, the impression I got was that he knew too many details of how Bademosi was killed to be innocent of the cold-blooded murder.
Some of those details can only be known by somebody who participated in the murder, not even a witness because he would be too shaken and traumatized to remember every little detail the way Sunday was recounting them.
Recall that the cold-blooded murder of Chief Bademosi, the Chairman of Credit Switch Technology, at his upscale Parkview home in highbrow Ikoyi, last week Wednesday, sent shivers down the spine of Lagos residents.
Sunday, a Togolese, who was recruited as a cook three days before the incident took place, was fingered as the principal suspect. He disappeared from the murder scene before Mrs. Ebun Bademosi, who claimed to have gone out that morning to do some banking transaction, got back home. I knew Sunday would be caught shortly if the police meant business and they did. This vast expanse of land called Nigeria is only big when you are a free person.
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Once you commit a crime, it shrinks to the size of a football field with nowhere to hide. Barely three days on the run, Sunday was arrested in Ondo State from where he was recruited two Sundays ago. That made sense. A criminal on the run would feel more comfortable in a familiar environment, but not necessarily with people he is familiar with.
Upon interrogation, Sunday had answers for every question the police threw at him. That was strange for somebody who did not kill the “master.” He alleged that an unspecified number of assailants invaded the house, robbed and killed Chief Bademosi. He could not give an accurate number of the assailants, yet he knew intimate details of how the assailants killed his master.
Also, the assailants did not kill him, even though they were not masked and he could identify them. They did not even tie him or lock him up in a room before leaving the crime scene to prevent him from escaping and informing the security at the gate and neighbours! Come on, Sunday, excuse my cliché; tell it to the marines.
The assailants were also so comfortable and had so much presence of mind in a broad daylight attack that they quickly found, mastered the operation of the music system in the house, put it on and raised the volume very high to muffle any cry for help.
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! How many times did I call you? You are just an evil young man, who unfortunately, was named after a holy day. You are one of those criminals from neighbouring ECOWAS countries, who take advantage of the free movement within the region, to wreak havoc on innocent citizens of your host countries.
In the eyes of the law, you are innocent, until proven guilty, but in my very eyes, “guilty” is written all over you. Your story does not add up. You claimed that the assailants killed Chief Bademosi before leaving the crime scene, but the wife said he called, but he was not audible.
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Surely, he could not have been taking calls while the so called assailants were still around, unless the wife is lying. Sunday, I put it to you that you stabbed Bademosi and left him, thinking he was already dead. In addition, why where you in possession of his personal items? Meanwhile, you left yours while fleeing? Why did you runaway, in the first place? Ab initio, your mission in Bademosi’s home was to steal and kill, not cook.
Abroad, when alleged murder suspects are interrogated, they are usually tight-lipped and soon request for a lawyer if they feel caged. In your own case, you were singing like a canary during interrogation. You are just a dumb young man, driven by greed to make quick money.
You might not have the opportunity to learn from your foolishness, but I hope other young men with your mindset will learn some valuable lessons from the fate that will likely befall you and retrace their steps. Unfortunately, in your blind pursuit of money, you wasted the life of a prominent Nigerian.
My condolences to the family of the late Bademosi, but now, we must use him as a guinea pig to warn other Nigerians, who display shocking naivety in the recruitment of domestic staff. A cook, for instance, is a delicate position. Somebody, who prepares your meals, has the power of life and death over you, because he can easily send you to your grave by poisoning your food. So you cannot be perfunctory in your recruitment process. You must carry out due diligence.
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How do you source domestic staff? Is it through family, friends, or service providers? If the person is a stranger, you need to do a thorough background check with written (not oral) information. You must go the extra mile by tracing his/her roots to a permanent address, such as his/her village, not the temporary city address The Bademosis could have afforded the cost of a private investigator to travel to Togo to do due diligence on Sunday.
Photographs should be taken and the photos must match the name during due diligence. Also, the police advise that you approach the divisional police officer (DPO) of the nearest police station to your home for data capture and background check of domestic staff. After the shocking news of the death of Chief Bademosi, the next shocking news was that all they knew about the suspected murderer were his first name and country of origin. Luckily, they found a photo of him, which probably helped. It was after he was apprehended that we got to know his surname.
A domestic employee must have a guarantor of fixed address and a permanent home address; somebody who can be held accountable when things go wrong. Also, open an account for your domestic staff where their salaries are paid into. It helps you to keep records in the event of disputes. With BVN, the account adds up as another means of identification and deterrent.
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Take every measure that can serve as deterrence. Everybody is a combination of good and evil. Sometimes, in the fight between good and evil in people’s minds, what tips the scale are the consequences of the crime and that critical question: “will I be caught?” people are less likely to commit a crime if they know they can easily be caught and sanctioned.Related