Sunday Magazine

Incest: Battling against a scourge

• It leads to birth, genetic defects –Psychiatrist

• Islam only encourages cousins to marry –Cleric

• Lawyers differ on position in Law

In recent times, weird stories about incest have stirred concerns. In this piece, LADESOPE LADELOKUN writes about the factors fuelling it and why it is worrying

 

Bizarre stories of sexual deviance have in recent times hogged the headlines and stirred concerns.

 

But not all the weird stories get reported. An example of such is the story of Chinwe Okoroafor(not real name). It was an open secret. Yet neighbours spoke about it in whispers. Chinwe was her father’s bed mate. Imprisoned by fear, having her father defile her regularly was not what she could protest, even when anger welled up inside her.

 

Her father, Chief Chukwuma Okoroafor(not real name),a self-acclaimed apostle in a white garment church and chief in the Ngor-Okpala area of Imo State hardly beat his children without having to offset medical bills arising from fractured bones, swollen faces and varying degrees of injuries sustained from heavy pummelling. Hence, protesting her regular abuse by her father could only be in dreams.

Like her brother, Emeka, she had no mother to confide in since chief had parted ways with their mothers. Chinwe, now 41, could only confide in neighbours(like this reporter’s sister),begging profusely not to report her father to security agents as going back to her mother in Imo State was not an option she considered to avoid getting her education truncated.

 

But, Okoroafor would not share his daughter with another man; something he demonstrated when he accused her of allowing herself to get laid by a neighbour because, according to him, he perceived the smell of the whitish liquid from her lover’s male organ deposited on her. Chinwe would later be the guest of doctors having been beaten blue black  her father. Okoroafor was later issued a notice to quit his residence in the Jamiu Balogun area of Ikosi, Ketu, Lagos by his landlord. He moved house months later.

 

Unlike the Okoroafors, enjoying the sweet taboo was an agreement between Adamu Isime and his mother. And their relationship blossomed till it yielded one, two, three children. Adamu’s biological mother bore him three children.

His brother was also said to be having canal knowledge of his mother. Adamu Sabi Sime, a Benin Republic citizen, was later arrested by the Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). A statement by the NSDC then read: “On Thursday September 9, 2021, one Mallam Bandede, the district head of Mosne Had community in the Kaiama local government area of the state reported an incestuous act being committed by one Adamu Sabi Sime and his mother, Fati Sime, of the same community.

“Men from the intelligence unit and NSCDC operatives in Kaiama swung into action and the outcome of the investigations established the fact that the mother (Fati) had three children for her biological son. Further check revealed that the younger brother of the accused, who was also confirmed to be sleeping with the mother is now at large.”

For Juliana, she could not imagine another woman sharing his twin brother with her. Describing his twin brother’s sexual prowess, she had told a national newspaper(not this paper) that,” He is quite good in bed. My former boyfriend, I mean the one who deflowered me in Awe but was killed by herdsmen is not anywhere near Amos in bed.

 

He was quite gentle when we started, but what attracted me to him was the size and length of his manhood. But as we move on much more regularly, I realised he was an expert in bed, and that really speeded up and tightened the relationship.” “He would throw me unto the bed, rip my clothes off and start the game in a very crazy way while slapping my boobs. He does it well and straight and did all other things to my satisfaction that it made me forget that we are brother and sister. “He really gets me exhausted each time we play game.

 

So, I really felt bad and sad that someone else would share such with me. It is giving me a headache.” But things fell apart when Amos decided to take a legitimate wife from the proceeds of the farm produce they had both laboured for. He met a stiff resistance from Juliana, a nursing mother who demanded to know her fate and those of her two kids when the new wife arrives.

 

Explaining how they started their amorous affair, Julian said:” Relocating from Awe after losing our parents and relatives to herdsmen killings, we were in the farm arranging harvested yams when his trouser tore as he made to sit down to eat, and I saw his big and long manhood and smiled. “When he noticed I smiled, he asked why and I told him that his manhood could kill someone’s daughter. We both  laughed over it.

That same day, after we returned home from the farm, I was trying to turn food in our local kitchen in the night and he entered unnoticed to check whether all his chickens had roosted. I was not sitting well and did not have any underwear on as I was turning the food. I only put on a wrapper.

 

Then he saw my private part because he was flashing a torch to check his chickens in the kitchen. “Then he saw my private and shouted in appreciation of how big it was. I told him that we are twins and that we were bound to have the same features; maybe we took that from our late parents.

 

“The incident later resulted in sex in our thatched house. He came to my room in the night, asking for a razor blade. From there, I agreed to his request for a sex test since both of us appreciated each other’s private organs, though it was also a bid to satisfy our sexual urge since both of us had not had sex after we relocated amidst herdsmen crisis and lost contacts with our loved ones “But somehow, it became regular as both of us enjoyed it.”

 

She further stated: “He never promised to marry another woman. What he told me was that we would make efforts to send them to school since both of us never went to school; that we were tired of moving from one settlement to another since sex was secretly involved in the relationship and he became my husband.

Then, he suddenly came up with a plan to take a wife. I asked him about my fate and those of our two kids since the new wife    would come in and may not accept the development on ground.

 

“I told him that with two kids, it is as good as we are married and there is no need bringing in somebody who would frustrate the kids. He told me and the kids to find our level. I won’t accept that. He lured me into this mess and he can’t abandon me now. His insistence on marrying a new wife without convincing me brought about the current crisis.”

Lawyers clash

Speaking with Sunday Telegraph, Lagos lawyer, Liborous Oshoma, submitted that though the law forbids incest, it has not been criminalised.

 

To this end, according to him, no one can be punished for having incestuous relationships. However, former Ogun State Commissioner of Information and lawyer, Dr Yusuf Fassy, disagrees with Oshoma. According to him, incest has already been criminalised.

Reacting to the position of Imams that cousins are allowed to marry in Islam, Fassy said: “The law frowns at it. And not only that the Holy Books-the Bible and the Koran . It is criminalised. It is unnatural offence. Incest is father having intercourse with daughter, son having intercourse with mother. Brother and sister. It doesn’t extend to cousins.

 

Even in the Bible, there are examples of relations getting married. The new testament does not say anything about it. Incest is sexual intercourse between members of the same family. In England, cousins in the royal household get married. Check the Bible and the Koran, God is not against it. The silence of the New Testament is an indication that such marriage is acceptable. Parental guidance, poverty, over exposure to pornography are some of the factors that fuel this menace.

 

On whether culture can be an excuse to engage in incest, Fassy explained that there is no culture that is superior to the law. “Once you are based in Nigeria, you must obey its laws. It is mandatory. When you go to UK now, can you tell them you want to marry two wives or 10 wives? Can you tell them in Australia, Canada, France? You can go there with your fours, you are not holding their passport but if you have to naturalise, you must keep just one.

 

Any culture that is repugnant to our laws is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency? However, checks by Sunday Telegraph revealed that incestuous relationships or marriages are prohibited in the 1st Schedule (Section 3) of the Matrimonial Causes Act, Cap 220, Law of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 1990, which identifies the prohibited degree of consanguinity to include that between father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister, uncle and aunt, niece, and nephew.

 

Also, according to the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP Act) 2015, any form of sexual relations between people classed as being too closely related to marry each other (with or without) consent is incest and is liable to a minimum conviction of 10 years without an option of fine.

The Senate had on May 5 2015, passed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 into law. The law, experts explain, prohibits economic abuse, forced isolation and separation from family and friends, substance attack, depriving persons of their liberty, incest, indecent exposure, among others.

Why people desire incestuous relationships -Psychiatrist

Humans have social and psychological mechanisms in place to deter incest, according to Dr Obi Igbokwe. “We are not only born with the instincts to view having a sexual relationship with one’s parent, child or sibling as bad, it is almost universal in most cultures around the world that it is an abomination,”he told Sunday Telegraph.

 

“And there is a good reason for this, as the problem with having sex with close  relatives is that there is an astonishingly high chance that your offspring will be born with a serious birth defect which can range from physical deformities leading to early deaths or severe mental disabilities.

 

“The psychological reasons why some people desire incestuous relationships have generally been categorised into four. One, affection-based incest provides closeness in a family otherwise lacking in support and affection. There is an emphasis on how special the relationship is, inside which otherwise unavailable care is given and received.

 

Two, for eroticbased incest, the family atmosphere is one of chaotic sexual attraction to people regardless of their gender or status, and it is common for many family members to be involved. “Three, for aggression-based incest, the incestuous acts involve the offender’s sexualised anger. He or she vents their frustration and conflicts on a vulnerable individual, and physical abuse is often involved. Four, for rage-based incest, the culprit is hostile and may be blatantly sadistic. With this relationship, there is usually great danger to the victim. It is not uncommon for mixtures of these components to be encountered when seeking reasons why incest occurs,” he    said.

 

 

Islam allows cousins to marry but… Clerics In a chat with Sunday Telegraph, Islamic cleric, Imam Taofeek Aduroshakin, traced the first case of incest to Kabila in the Koran when he violated the instruction of God that children from the same mother must not have canal knowledge of each other. According to him, the punishment for incest is death.

 

“Poverty has a way of encouraging incest. A fully grown lady should not live in the same room with her father. When you have a father and his grown up daughter in a room, living together, the tendency is high for incest. Divorce is another contributory factor. When a man has only his grown up daughter around after a divorce, Satan is powerful.

 

Something terrible can happen. Too much familiarity between a girl child and the father can also be a factor. And, most times, women should be blamed for incest.

But the origin of incest itself in the Koran is Kabila. “God gave an instruction that twins from the same mother should not have canal knowledge of each other but Kabila violated that instruction. So, he was the first to commit incest. For those who sleep with their 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, that can be said to be for diabolic purposes. The punishment for incest is death. The Koran is clear on who can have sexual intercourse. You can’t have sex with your brother or sister. Also, you can’t have sex with your foster child, among others.

 

But cousins can marry. It’s a regular practise in the northern part of Nigeria and that’s why they love themselves. Of course, the Yoruba culture disagrees with cousins marrying themselves. If you try that here, there would be so much hue and cry. But Religion and culture are not the same.” Justifying Imam Adurosakin’s position on the appropriateness of marriage between cousins, Imam Alausa Kabir said :”Marrying from the same family discourages separation.

Sometimes, the practical aspect of the Koran may be difficult to follow but it works. For example, in the Koran ,Abu Tolib was Abdullahi’s elder brother. Abdullahi was Prophet Mohammed’s father. But Abu Tolib raised Prophet Mohammed. So, when Prophet Mohammad left him,

 

He chose to allow Ali, Abu Tolib’s son, to live with him. He eventually allowed his daughter, Fatima, to marry his uncle’s son,Ali. The Koran states clearly those who can marry and those cannot. Commenting, Pastor Emmanuel Ajani opined that though God initially allowed relatives to marry but later declared it a sin.

 

“In the Bible, the first and second generations, that’s what they practised. The time of Cain and his wife, Second generation, the time of Noah. Also ,during the time of Isaac, he also married his half sister. And Jacob, he also married from his father’s lineage.

 

That’s Nahum who happened to be Abraham’s brother. And when we come back to the time of Abraham, he also married his half sister. Even Jethro, who happened to be father-in-law to Moses.

So, it wasn’t a sin until God commanded it to be sin(Leviticus chapter 18 and 20).God commanded that no one should marry their close relatives. In Christianity, it wasn’t a sin until Moses came back from the mountain and said God said….”

 

Even universally, it’s not acceptable. It promotes genetic abnormalities. You know Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, none accepts it. For those who would like to argue that God only gave the command in the old testament, he said: “In the old testament, it was practised.

 

The Bible is from God. This is the problem the whole world is facing in terms of interpreting the Bible. Some will interpret the Bible the way they understand it. You see, there cannot be New Testament without the Old Testament. Some people’s understanding is higher than yours while your understanding is higher than some people.”

 

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