By Sunday Ode
Journalists and allied media professionals of Igede origin from Benue State have cried out over the gruesome murder of a 19-year-old girl, Miss Joy Okom Adole, by a Lagos couple.
Young Miss Adole who hailed from Oju Local Government Area of Benue State was reportedly murdered by Mr and Mrs Fortunes Stephens, who employed her as house help, over alleged disagreements on failure to pay her salaries.
The roup under the auspices of Association of Igede Media Professionals (AIMPs) described the incident as the height of bestiality and has accordingly, in a petition, charged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to step into the matter and bring the perpetrators to book urgently.
The petition signed by its President, Mr Egena Ode, and made available to newsmen at the weekend, said the murder of Miss Joy Okom Adole by her employers, Mr and Mrs Fortune Stephens, was an act fit only for the animal kingdom.
According to Mr Ode, the petition which was also signed by some other Igede interest groups to be submitted to the office of the IGP as well as civil society groups, called for urgent intervention in the matter by all relevant authorities to ensure that justice was done to the family of the deceased.
Part of the petition read: “Reports have suggested that Miss Joy Okom Adole was murdered by her employers, Mr and Mrs Fortune Stephens of No 13, Ogundola Street, Bariga, Lagos for the simple reason that the deceased who worked as a housemaid asked for her salary, having served them for months.
“We are at a loss as to what could have warranted her employers to take her precious life for merely making a legitimate demand.
“There’s a universal maxim that a labourer deserves his/her wages. It is therefore not for nothing that Miss Joy was killed by her employer for just asking for her salary. What has become obvious here is that there’s an underlying motive behind her killing which the police must strive to unravel.”
It continued: “We cannot but ask: when has it become a crime to work.and ask to be paid. Not everybody was born with a silver spoon, so if the only option for the young girl to be able to further her education was to take up the lowly menial housemaid job, then she did not deserve to be killed in such a gruesome and violent manner. The laws of the land must catch up with her killers.
“Even if the salary had accumulated and was difficult to pay, her employers, like many callous ones had done, should have sent her away without the money or work out an arrangement to pay her piece-meal. Again, we ask: why take her life?
“We demand that the Inspector General of Police should activate all necessary procedures to bring Mr and Mrs Fortune Stephens to book. We are prepared to ensure that they answer for this dastardly and inhuman act.”
The group said as a body devoted to the defence of Igedeland and people, “we have resolved to take up this case to any level to ensure that justice is done in favour of the innocent deceased girl.”
The association also vowed to mobilize for civil disobedience in Benue and Lagos if the right steps were not taken by the authorities to teach the killer couple a lesson of their life.
It, however, thanked the DPO of Bariga Police Station and his team for their sound professional competence in quickly detecting the pranks of the murderous couple who attempted to foist suicide of the deceased by hanging her dead body with a rope.
The group called on Igede youth across the country to stay calm and not take the law into their hands but to be vigilant in piling pressure on the relevant authorities for justice to be done in this matter.
Recall that Joy Adole was said to have been taken to Lagos to work as a housemaid for Mr and Mrs Fortune Stephens by an agent who is said to be an inlaw to the deceased.
Reports said Joy who had worked for about four months demanded that her meager monthly salary of 15,000 naira be paid to enable her plan her return to school, but her employers turned a deaf ear and tortured her to death.
The most bizare part of the story, according to reports, was that Mr and Mrs Fortune Stephens tried to conceal their murderous act by stage managing the killing to look like a suicide as they hung the poor girl’s dead body with a rope in a room.