Nigeria appears to be grappling with unprecedented number of husbands being sent to their early graves by their wives. This was very rare in time past. But not anymore! It is, at present, becoming regular headline news. In this report, ISIOMA MADIKE, attempts to find answers to this new “madness”
In a marriage, spouses continually need each other, especially for emotional support. But not anymore! Nigerian men, it appears, are no longer feeling safe in their marriages.
They seem to be wondering what has happened to their wives. In time past, when there is domestic violence, people ordinarily assumed that it was a wife being physically abused by her husband.
That has been the stereoptye; that the oppressor or perpetrator is the male. And when female violence happens, it is said to be a reaction against male violence.
The stereotype is so strong that nobody wants to believe it could happen the other way round. Conventional wisdom also suggests that women usually kill their spouses in self defence or as a final, desperate reaction to chronic battery and the burning-bed syndrome.
This may be the reason many believe that barely a quarter of husband-killers are victims of domestic abuse and that less than half suffer from identified psychological problem.
Yet, recent incidents seem to suggest that the era for that assumption is now over. Perhaps, those were wives of the old school. These days, women rarely gave a warning before killing their companions.
Those who end their partners’ lives usually have been an under-examined, reported group. But, why are some people in nonviolent relationships kill their partners? A lot of reasons could be adduced to this. The most common, according to findings, is jealousy.
This arises when a wife thinks she is at risk of losing her partner to someone else. In most domestic violent cases that end in courts, jealous rage or morbid jealousy were often blamed for spurring the murders.
In most cases, the perpetrator lashes out with lethal violence, despite being previously non-violent.There could also be an issue of gain in which case the primary reason for the murder is to acquire some personal and tangible benefit.
The victims are killed because they had something the offender wanted, such as money or property. In these instances, there may be no prior abuse from the women’s husbands. However, the issue of jealousy appears to be stronger, in the recent cases of spousal killings. For instance, the one that happened on May 3, involved a childless lawyer, who is believed to have killed her husband because of alleged cheating.
The incident took place at Diamond Estate in Ogombo, Ajah area of Lagos State. According to a statement by the state Police Command Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, a Superintendent of Police (SP), the 47-year-old lawyer, Udeme Otike, stabbed and ripped her husband, Odibe’s stomach open, exposed his intestine and then severed his genital and placed it in his right hand. The couple, both lawyers, got married three years ago after the deceased divorced his first wife.
The first marriage produced a daughter currently schooling in the UK. Unfortunately, the marriage of the lawyers did not produce any child. Apart from jealousy, gain was also a possibility, the police said. According to what Saturday Telegraph gathered, trouble started when the accused allegedly demanded that the deceased willed all his properties to her.
This position was said to have been rejected because the man argued that his daughter must have a share of his properties. Before the Lagos incident, another had happened in Abuja, the nation’s seat of government. It involved one Maryam Sanda, who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, to death on November 20, 2017.
According to reports, Maryam allegedly killed her husband by stabbing him several times. Other online reports also said she allegedly attacked her husband based on allegations of infidelity after seeing a text message on his phone.
She equally reportedly stabbed him many times on his manhood. After stabbing him, she allegedly drove him to the hospital for treatment but he did not survive the attack. According to reports, it was not the first time Maryam would attack Bello violently. She was said to have once bitten part of his ear off during an argument.
Bello was treated at a hospital before returning home. Some reports said he was advised to leave the house but he refused, only to be brutally attacked the second time.
On August 21, 2016, another woman killed her husband after picking call from a ‘girlfriend’. The woman, Fola-shade Idoko, an auxiliary nurse, was arrested for stabbing her husband to death after he ‘dared’ to receive a phone call from a girl suspected to be his lover.
Their marriage was four-year-old at the time. The man identified simply as Lawrence was killed at their home in Ayetoro, Oto-Awori, also in Lagos.
The couple had two kids together. Also in Benue, another chopped off her husband’s penis over alleged infidelity on September 17, 2012. The 42-year-old, John Ajene, who resides in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, had his penis chopped off by his infuriated wife, Roseline. It was gathered from the eyewitness that Roseline carried out the dastardly act while her husband was deep asleep.
The woman, who resides with her husband on Ojira Street, Otukpo, had few weeks before the incident accused him of having extra-marital affair with a young lady, who lives on Sabon Gari area of the same town.
He was said to have been visibly enraged by the wife’s unfounded accusation that he had to beat her up mercilessly forcing residents in the neighbourhood to intervene in the ensuing skirmish.
However, when all seemed to have calmed down and the couple had gone to bed, the enraged wife picked up her kitchen knife and cut off her husband’s manhood while he was deep asleep.
“The scream of the man woke his neigbours, who rushed to his house only to discover his penis on the floor while he bled profusely,” the police said. Professor of Islamic Eschatology, Ishaq Akintola, has, however, given two reasons why this monster has somewhat become the fad at present. First, Akintola identified infidelity.
He noted that some women can be violently jealous. “Most men are naturally polygamous. Besides, women, outnumber men by a very wide margin. Yet 99 per cent of them are reluctant to share their men with any other women.
It arouses the bestiality in some women once they suspect that hubby is seeing another woman. Men naturally want other women and they are ready to do so secretly and illegally. Islam recommends the recognition of the institution of polygamy to avoid such confusion.
“What the Glorious Qur’an decrees in Chapter 4 verse 3 is that men can marry as many as four wives so long as they can maintain them physically and emotionally. But some men ignore the conditionality.
They marry more than one without the material and physical capacity. It often ends in disaster as women in such marriages fail to get emotional or material satisfaction.
“Quest for materialism is another reason. Some women are after their husband’s property. They woo the husbands to bequest their wealth to them only to kill them afterwards.”
His Christian counterpart, Bishop Stephen Ogedengbe, founder and Head of Evangelical Ministries (Wisdom Chapel), said a wife that kills her husband has lost normal humanity. He believes such a woman is possessed.
This, according to him, is because nobody gets married with his or her enemy. “I also believe it’s a pathetic situation that we now found ourselves. There could have been a level of anger and outright provocation before such could take place.
In such scenarios we should be able to understand that a woman is the one that chased man out of the Garden of Eden. So, it’s as if Eve killed Adam.
That is the foundation of women. They are like a horse. You have to tame the horse. How do you do that? You put a bead in the mouth of a horse before you can climb it and when you even do that you have to be gentle with the horse before you can ride on it.
“So, women need care, love, and assurance. You look at what that lawyer did, cut off the penis of her husband, that explains where her anger lies. It probably means she has been denied and she is like saying, ok, you don’t give it to me, you give it to nobody.
I don’t have it, no one else would have it. When a woman begins to talk on a particular issue in a marriage, a wise man will take out time to address such issue. Every woman needs attention; that is who they are. The only thing they need is care and love.
If she doesn’t get the attention she doesn’t care if the whole world collapse and she won’t bother about the consequences. That is the nature of their character and the way God created them. “The Bible fundamentally described them as the weaker sex.
This means she could go to any extend; she can build a house and set it on fire. That is weak. Weakness is not when you cannot fight; it means you don’t have the ability to endure. Your endurance is limited and the temperament is uncontrollable.
What we do to that is to begin to constantly pray and understand that in our marriage we need to be trusted. And in our society we should also realise that the women have a voice and their voices must be heard.
When we do this, we have a better society to live in,” the bishop said. A sociologist, Rev. Bola Nuga, has also given a sociological perspective to the maddening fad. He said that sometimes prolong provocation of the husbands/ wives could be a strong reason for such action. The day this provocation gets to the limit, he added, it then bursts and violent act results which can lead to the killing.
“Financial deprivation of the wife by the husband can also be a factor. Consistent and prolong financial deprivation can really cause anger which can make the wife to negatively react. Harsh economic reality can take its toll on the couple to begin to misbehave.
Besides, when a woman is sexually deprived on a regular basis, and upon the suspicion that the man is cheating on her, can really cause violence and negative reaction from the woman which can make her to sometimes inadvertently kill the man.”
The sociologist said that when dispute remains unresolved for a long time, the tendency is that it could result to frustration, especially if the woman is longing for a resolution, which is not forthcoming.
“The frustration of this prolong unresolved issue can really take its toll on the woman or the man, and, can trigger violent reaction. “Sometimes couple do take each other for granted in their marital existence.
The taking for granted can be that the partner could be thinking ‘there is nothing he/she can do’ when disagreement happens in the home. This assumption can sometimes be taken too far that the partner may want to prove that he/she ‘can do something’ to prove the capability of taking firm decision. That is the frustration or anger of being taken for granted.
“However, when couples are used to a very high standard of living, and when an unexpected event happen to the family, for instance, loss of job or contract, it consequently makes it difficult to keep up with the already established standard of living.
This can cause tension, frustration and bottledup anger in the house, especially when it becomes difficult to provide basic needs in the house and for the children. The bursting of the anger can cause a negative reaction leading to killing/ murdering of the partner.
“Moreover, when a partner has short temper in which little things get the woman or the partner angry, this short temperament can also result in violent and uncontrollable reaction in the home leading to killing or negatively reacting to issues in the house. It also happens when a partner fails to trust each other, mutual suspicion reign supreme.
This can aggravate any small incident in the house resulting to violent reaction which may lead to death of partner.” Nuga equally said that a partner that is melancholic in nature, will always exhibit such behavioural pattern in a relationship.
“It’s just a matter of time before such nature will be fully displayed in the home. Reactions are usually devastating,” he said. Another sociologist at the University of Ibadan, Oludayo Tade (PhD), has also said that the growing killing of husbands by their wives presents a complex but dangerous scenario, which calls for a serious concern about the shaky nature of the Nigerian family.
There are a lot of factors, he said, that could be used to explain what I can call return of violent favour or rise domestic balance of terror. “If we consider the different killings that have taken place from wives to their husbands, one would be able to see that women in distressed marriages are more likely to result to return-aggression or return-violent behaviour.
In other words, women who have been enduring or have history of stomaching and enduring fatal violence from their spouses may decide a return and say enough is enough.
“Unfortunately, because the ‘violent men’ are used to having their way in the past, they are oblivious of the determination to resist future torture. One thing is clear, when men beat or violates their wives; it is physical and does not involve weapons but strengthen their resolve, women use weapons such as knife or substance like poison to end it all.
The use of knife is also to ensure that the partner carry stigma or fills a commensurate pain the woman has been enduring if he does not die. “You could also see that husband killing cuts across all social classes but are more reported in the middle and lower social classes. Forced relationship could also be responsible for such killings.
This occurs where a premature or ill-prepared girl is ‘packaged’ to suit the whims and caprices of parents and such relationship ends up being uncaring, abusive and violent.
In the thinking of the lady, the way to end such nightmare is to annihilate the man in other to have her life back on track. This category utilises poison more than other physical weapon. “Also, social learning from failures of other women, who have suffered to the point of death due to prolonged period of intimate partner violence, teaches those currently experiencing such to take their own fate in their hands and prepare a counter terror strategy.
They are more likely to attack a cheating husband, uncaring man, and a historically aggressive man. Very few kill because of plan to take over the wealth of a very prosperous husband.
Even when this happens the means is not by violence but the use of poison in order to avoid direct linkage of the woman to the crime,” Tade said. He went further to state that the anger and hostility frames of explaining intimate partner violence states that the violent partner believes other person to be selfish, mistrust and mean.
The relationship, the sociologist said, could have suffered delayed child birth and the woman hears of the husband having a child out of wedlock, which triggers violence. Anger and hostility, he added, are clear signposts of impending danger in any distressed marital relationship.
He said: “Just like women, men who die in such instance, have only died only to their insistence on sustaining their male ego of power and domination over the female, and not been able to read signs of balance of terror.
Even when they have inkling of danger such as having opportunity to alert family members and relatives, they still fool-ishly sleep under the same roof with someone who has shown sufficient agency to cause havoc.
“They also mostly sleep in the same room unguarded or separate room without locking their door. Both women and men in such relationships should learn to walk away for some days until nerves are calmed to avert danger.
Contemporary marriages are suffering from violence and I think the violent is taking it by force.” Yet, the Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, said there is no reason for women killing their husbands/ boyfriends just as there is no reason for men to kill their wives/girlfriends. No one, under no circumstance, she said, has a right to take the life of another.
“However domestic violence is one issue that has for long been trivialised, and allowed to fester in Nigeria. Families, friends, neighbours, the police, religious leaders and the community at large often refer to it as a private matter.
The victims were mostly women, who were often blamed for their victimisation. People never thought men would be victims, which is what we are seeing now. Perhaps, if we all had taken the issue of domestic violence seriously, responding promptly and appropriately to victims’ cries for help, it may not have degenerated to this stage.
“Women are beginning to respond to various challenges in their marriages with violence, just as the men have been doing for so long. The monster called violence has been allowed to root itself deeply in marriages. It is very wrong.
The home should not be a war front. “However, domestic violence can be curbed in two ways: Firstly by mass sensitisation for people to understand what it means, its forms and consequences.
The sensitisation should convey the central message of ZERO TOLERANCE for violence in the home, and stiff punitive measures including ostracisation, imprisonment, community service and sacking from work to serve as a deterrent to would-be perpetrators.
These sensitisation programmes should be done in schools, places of worship, market places, work places and business districts.
“Secondly, state and non-state actors (communities, individuals, NGOs and faith-based organisations) should partner in rendering prompt and appropriate response to reported cases.
Victims should not be told to stay on in an abusive environment. They should leave to live, as that is the only way they can fight back. A dead man or woman can’t fight back. We must ALL say NO to domestic violence, starting from our personal lives and families,” she said. Another woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Nwaka, who has been in a marriage for over 40 years now, told Saturday Telegraph that unlike in their own time, today women in violent relationship may not agree with the assertion of playing the normative gender roles, which expects women to be submissive and passive when they find themselves in such situation.
Nwaka said: “They tend to want to protect themselves by ensuring that items that can be used to defend themselves when their aggressive husbands return home are with them.
They use anything available in that circumstance. Again, women in abusive relationships learn from those who had died of their husbands’ violence that the family system and the religious institutions only preach endurance and not walking away. The today woman, unfortunately, can’t take that any longer. Unlike our own time, education has also opened their eyes.
They are now more likely to attack a cheating, uncaring husband. And whenever such attack takes place, it’s usually deadly.” Meanwhile, Oti told our correspondent that couples in violent relationships should learn to resolve their problem before it escalates. The police, he said, have consistently advised couples to learn to resolve their differences amicably.
“They should also know that one should not be violent for problems of that nature to be solved because it can only create more problems than the one such people are trying to solve.
If you use problem to solve problem you create more problem. “Also, we advise couples to take advantage of all peaceful channels available in the police force, especially in the Lagos State command, for those who stay in Lagos.
The police have a family unit and personnel who specialise to handle the issue of domestic violence. We call it the gender section of the police force. When they come to us we try to resolve what the problem is.
We invite the couple, hear from them and proffer solutions to their problems. We have experts who are well schooled to handle issues of that magnitude.
We also advise those that have violent spouses to stay apart for a while; you don’t have to wait till he/she kills you, you report such persons to us. If you suffer such violence and refused to make a move the tendency for it to escalate is high,” Oti said.
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