Ik Muo, PhD
The death of the Ekwueme minstrel, Mrs. Osinachi Nwachukwu, brought to the front burner the sourge of spousal violence, which I have decided to upgrade to terrorism. People were so embittered that they would have ‘finished’ Peter Nwachukwu if they could lay hands on him, with many suggesting the appropriate types of wicked punishment for the apparently coldhearted fellow. Others blamed the beastliness/bestiality of men in general, saying ‘it is in their character’. A particular platform I belong to dedicated a whole week to the matter, sharing relevant cases, videos, comments, and sermons. Some of the videos were unbelievably BRUTAL, drawing real or meme tears form the viewers. However, in the process, it became very obvious that men were also victims, indeed more victimised than people imagined. Unfortunately, many, even officials funded from the public purse (Gender, Domestic and Sexual violence agencies), limit themselves to violence against women. Occasionally, they remember the children but men are NOT in the equation. In June 2020 for instance, Ekiti State pronounced immediate dismissal for any male civil servant who sexually assaulted the female counterparts. Its Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi also declared that “We will sensitise our female workers and encourage our women generally to speak out against any gender-based violence. Case closed: only women were sexually and physically assaulted; the men were, and still are, the aggressors! It is also an indubitable fact that the Coro-induced triple-locks( lockup, lockdown and lock-in) accentuated domestic terrorism( see Covid19 lock downs and domestic violence: evidence from two studies in Argentina: Perez Vincent et al, 2020, Inter American Development Bank, downloaded 24000 times in less than 2 years). The National Human Rights Commission also received 266 reports of domestic violence in the first three months of 2022 from Kano State alone.
Incidentally in the Osinachi case, everybody condemned Peter unequivocally, saying that nothing could have warranted such extreme wickedness and these were based on the stories we heard because we were not eye-witnesses. Professor Anthony Oha of Umuchukwu, was a lone voice, asking if Osinachi was truly an angel at home, recalling how women terrorise men with their venomous tongues, daring them to ‘touch me if you are man enough’. However,when men were on the receiving end, the comments, mostly by women, revolved around ‘who knew what he must have done’. This gives rise to a multiple choice question scenario. Is spousal terrorism bad on itself? Is it bad based on who is the pugilist or the pugilee? Or is it bad based on the offense of the pugilistic victim? This is the fulcrum of my paper at the next Global Gender-based Violence Conference!
Spousal terrorism(also known as Intimate Partner Violence), which was initially perceived to be exclusively against women, did not start today. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo beat the daylight out of his wife for killing a banana tree( p27) and nearly murdered her for running her mouth( yes; running her mouth; as it was in the beginning..) about his hunting incompetence( p28). He was so annoyed that he reasoned with his brawn,forgetting that it was the week of peace. For this, Ezeani, the priest of the earth goddess fined him a she-goat, a hen, a piece of cloth and 100 cowries(a hefty fine in those days), telling him that even if he had caught her red handed with another man in their matrimonial bed, the beating was condemnable. The Igbo worldview on spousal terrorism is also established in the case of Mgbafo vs Uzowulu when the supreme court of Umuofia( staffed by the ancestors, one of whom walked like Okonkwo and led by the dreaded ajofia(evil forest)) declared that it is not bravery when a man fights with a woman( p66), and directed the man to go and beg his wife and in-laws with a pot of palm wine(Achebe,C(1958) TFA, Heinemann, Ibadan). In Arrow of God, the wife-beater was additionally asked to exorcise himself of his madness.
However, about 55 years ago, there was a very bad reverse case in my town: The bodacious woman so terrorised her husband that a masqueraded to be commissioned to protect him by itu-omu (tying fresh palm leaves around the man to indicate that he belonged to a masquerade such that anytime the woman touched him, it was as good as daring the masquerades and the consequences were better imagined!). I know the woman in question and I know the family! There was also this story about a couple intensely scuffling behind closed doors with the husband shouting‘I will kill you today’! The neighbours pleaded with the man to take it easy so as not to commit murder but when the scuffle continued unabated, they broke the door only to find the man being pounded on all sides by the hefty wife. The man was using the little strength he had left to shout I will kill you today so that neighbours would not know that he was at the receiving end. I did not eye-mark this story but it is thus obvious that women are not the only victims of spousal terrorism; it is a two-way affair.
Incidences of husbands terrorising their wives are three for a penny. However, for the purpose of this intervention, I will draw from two of my files on husband battering (opened in 2017) and household wickedness (opened around 2019). As you go through this intervention, ask yourself why and how people who voluntary agreed to get entangled with each other, with the support and in the presence of family and friends ‘till death do us part’, will suddenly so hate themselves that they do these unthinkable things to each other (Ik Muo, Spousal Wickedness, Business Day, 27/2/20). Instances include Samaila Musa of Kastina who locked up his 2 wives in a room for 10 months and dehumanized them in several ways, including ‘peppering’ their private parts; a diaspora Nigerian brutally restructured the wife’ s facial and dental configuration( none of the 3 children was his; the recent case (March 2022) of Mr Anyago who brutalized the wife, Judith for denying him access to her holy of holies; Ifeanyi Ajaero who chained his wife, Obiageli to a generator overnight (Ogun State); the popular case of Fani Kayode and his 4th wife, Precious who took a walk over domestic terrorism a fate that befell her 3 predecessors( why did she marry him despite this woeful testimonial?); Anthony Ikpeama, who beat his 6 months pregnant wife, Barr Adaeze to coma and allegedly removed the oxygen mask infused on her which led to her death. I don’t know how to classify the case of Yetunde Folorunsho, a pretty mother of 2 who committed suicide because her husband planned to marry a second wife ( Kwara State, April, 2022.) But she was a Muslim and ought to know the rules of engagement ab initio!
These are all condemnable and stand condemned. However, in June 2021Muhammed Abdullahi, Chief of Staff to Gov El-Rufai revealed that 73% of women in Kaduna LGAs did not think it was wrong for their husbands to beat them(www.globaltimesng.com). In March 2018, a Ugandan parliamentarian, Onesimus Twinamasiko ( Bugangaizi East)said on Ugandan National TV that a man should ‘touch, tackle and beat his wife somehow so as to streamline her’, That was in response to President Museveni’s remarks that men who beat their wives were cowards. He later clarified that he did not mean beatings that would cause injuries or death. Furthermore, about 90% of women aged 15-49 in Afghanistan and Jordan, and above 80% in Mali and Central African Republic, believe that a husband is justified in beating the wife under certain circumstances. 60% of women in rural Egypt feel that the man can beat his wife( that is if he has the capacity to do so) when she denies him sex, argues with him or goes out without telling him. It is even as high as 65% in Nigeria. In India, 56% of the sample believe that the husband can beat the wife for bad cooking, disrespect for in laws, leaving home without informing him or having more girls ( AA Adebayo( 2014) Domestic violence against men: balancing the gender issues in Nigeria. American Journal of Sociological Research,4, 14-19). In the southern region of Saudi-Arabia, 52% of women believe that husbands can beat their wives in at least one out of 6 circumstances, especially if she insults or disrespects him (EA Dhaher(2020)Women’s attitude towards accepting wife beating in the southern region of Saudi Arabia. Social Science,6(1)1-10). 38-50% of young people (aged15-19) in Africa, South Asia and Middle East believe that wife beating is Ok especially in cases of burnt food, insult, denial of access to holy of holies and neglect of Children. There are more female believers than male (UNICEF,(2021) Attitude and social norms on violence). So, it is the more you look, the less you see; different strokes for different folks
On the other hand, the incidences in which men are the recipients equally abound and they are increasing in geometrical progression but people pretend that it does not exist . In most of the cases, the men are either consciously killed or rendered man-less by cutting off their manhood! That was the view of one of the victims of amputated manhood, Mr Aliyu who lamented that his wife had ended his life-even though he was alive to tell the tale. Examples of female terrorism include Mrs Agbor, who contracted hired assassins to murder her husband, Godstime (Lekki, Lagos); Mrs Ajemine who killed her husband, Mr Tyger and buried him in a shallow grave( River State);the woman who butchered his husband, a medic in Owerri and then called his people to come and pick up the pieces; the wife who broke her husbands head for complaining about her food; Hilda Asumani, who stabbed her man, Prince Yaw Aboagye, to death for denying her of grass-cutter pepper-soup ( Ghana); Esther Githee( Kenya, July 2021) who bathed her husband with hot water; the weird case of Dayanne Cristina( Brazil, 2021) who killed the husband and fried his third leg; Mr Christopher Muchanga ( Zimbabew)who died after his lover, Rebecca Mbuya, pulled his third leg during a fight; the incestuous lady, Amanda McClure who murdered her boyfriend, Thomas, so that she could marry her father, which she did one month later; Nkechi, (aka Omalicha), who stabbed her man, Auwal Suleiman to death (Lagos) on allegation of cheating.; an 8 month pregnant woman amputated the husband’s penis after a ‘small’ quarrel; Mrs Omolara Seriki, who damaged the scrotum of her husband in the Iragbiji area of Osun state; Halima who amputated the penis of her husband, Aliyu Umaru with a knife(Taraba State), pregnant Omowunmi who stabbed her husband Joseph Nwankwo, to death for planning to marry a second wife (Ibadan, 2022); Sharon who stabbed her husband , Gideon Kemboi, to death on allegation of infidelity( Kenya); Muruntayo, who killed her husband, Alaba Bakare( aka Bama) with an electric iron (what a painful death), for impregnating his sidekick in Abule-Egba, Lagos. That was after the family returned from a holiday trip from Dubai.
Elizabeth Mweete (Zambia) who doused her husband Alex Muleya, with boiling cooking oil; there was this unknown lady who bit off the Husbands ( Pierre Paul) ear because of text message from his ex.
There was also the case of Stella Peter who murdered the husband for failure to finance the daughter’ s first year birthday party. She had demanded for N30,000 but the man, a phone charger could only afford N3,000. There was this Malawian woman who set her husband and two children ablaze in their home after the husband caught her in their matrimonial bed with another man( the offender playing the victim!). There were also the cases of Akinkumi Osilulu and Gbade Olaniyi who begged the Ile-Tuntum magistrate Court, (Oyo State) to save them from their wives. Janet poisoned her husband, Sunday Ekpe,( Nasarawa State) watched him die, cut off the his penis and placed it on chest for frolicking with her friend; 22-year-old and pregnant Veronica Boniface who stabbed her husband to death following a purported phone conversation with a ‘strange woman’.( Nasarawa State, May 2020), 20-year Makoduchukwu Ndubisi who stabbed her husband to death at Onitsah, Anambra State Blessing Edet, who stabbed her Fiancé Edet Ebong to death and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, Victoria Frabutt who tied up James, her husband, and separated his manhood from him.
There was also a mother in-law who killed her son in-law Dmitry Bogdanov, by stabbing him 27 times, and cut off his penis and threw it out of the window, because of the debt he owed her daughter( his wife); 20 year old Blessing John, bit off the manhood of her boyfriend Johnson; Lauratu Ahmed poured hot water on the private part of her husband Aliyu Ibrahim( Kano, 2019),Sibangilizwe Ngamula whose wife grabbed and twisted his genitals, bit off the forehead and a large portion of the foreskin; Hannan a Bayero law student who stabbed Saheed Hassan, her husband of just 7 months, (Kano) and Mary Harrison who killed her husband for beating the family cat (Dallas, 2018). We also have Joy who bathed her husband, Akachi with hot water for refusing to open the door for her when she returned from an unknown destination around 11pm( Iyan’Itire, Lagos) Mrs Udeme Odibi, who killed her husband, Otike by ripping his intestine and genitals with a knife(Sango-Tedo, Lagos) and Lekke Terkaa stabbed by her girlfriend who watched him struggle for life for about 9 hours. There is this young man whose wife just redesigned his face as reported by Francisca Eboh, and a Nigerian lady who publicly beat the daylights out of her fiancé for calling off the relationship( Russia, April,2022).
Naomi Njoki murdered her husband David Njogu by chopping off his penis ; Harriet Nambi,(Uganda), who murdered her husband for refusing to have sex with her for 2 months after the birth, Dausiya Abdulmumini, who used a N40 rat poison to finish her husband, ( Katsina State), because she didn’t love him, Ngozi Obasi, who poured hot water mixed with pepper on her husband’ s private part in Lagos Swati Malik who used a porn video to entice and murder her husband, Laxman; a 4th wife, Olanshile Nasirudeen murdered her husband for impregnating another woman in Ijebu Ode; A woman in Zaporozhye,Ukraine screwed a nut into her husband’s penis for cheating,Gift Paul who so beat her husband that she was remanded in prison at Abuja,Asifa Nakagolo bit off the penis of her husband, Mr Mukaire, for staying overnight at his second wife’s house, (March 2021), Mrs Toyin Olusola poured hot water on her husband Adeyinka after he collapsed in the house, claiming that the HOT water was to revive him ;Chinenye Ejiofor who conspired with her boyfriend to murder her husband Jude Okeke, in Cameroon early 2018,another lady who killed the husband by rubbing poisonous substances on the ‘sweet’ parts of her body which her husband tasted and died and Agustina, who murdered her husband, Raymond Ihugba, with acid in Akwakuma, Imo State for failing to meet her financial demands.
We all remember the case of Maryam Sanda who murdered Bilyamin Bello because of a text message in his phone,These are heart-rending stories, with differing levels of wickedness from different types of couples in different climes and for diverse reasons. It is obvious that men also cry and this becomes more worrisome when we adopt a holistic or multidimensional concept of spousal terrorism. Unfortunately, our society looks the other way while lampooning the men for brutalizing ‘weak and harmless’ wives and intimate partners.
One thing is obvious; our society is suffering from what Chimamanda Adichie (of the Achebe stock) describes as the danger of a single story. According to her, if we only hear a single story, we risk a critical misunderstanding because a single story is never complete; it tells only a part of whole story. Such single stories create stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that are incomplete; they make one story become the only story (Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a single story. TED Talk, 2009). In this case, there are two single-stories( SS), which are intertwined. SS1: Spousal terrorism is only physical. SS2: wives are the only victims of spousal terrorism. This small expose has shown that men also cry but they cry internally (because it is unmanly to cry!); they bottle up their pains and sorrows; they repress the rage and as we all know, internal bleeding is MORE deadly than external bleeding. Women cry but they mostly cry externally; they even make a show of their tears and the process, they discharge the pent-up emotion. In due course, I shall identify and discuss the other types of spousal terrorism beyond the physical; the types of spousal terrorism that are deeper, long-lasting and more damaging to the victims.
10 Meanwhile, with the alarming rate with which women go for the pennis, (cut, bite, fry, mutilate squeeze), I believe that it is time for men to insure their third-legs. This will surely be a big business for the insurance industry but any insurance firm that wants to market this product must know that I now have the patent right to this idea and product. Another easy way out is to obey the advice of this entrepreneur at Ekuku-Agbor as contained in the signboard: fear woman! I have deliberately removed the phone number so that whoever wants to get in touch with him for practical strategies and tactics, will have to go through me!
We may also explore the applicability of the federal Government anti-terrorism law on this matter. I may also seek for a special TETFUND grant to conduct an empirical survey on why the women see the penis or the penile region, as the most attractive part to attack!( Brutal attack on male penis: the causes, methods, consequences and remedial strategies).
Ik Muo, PhD. Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye. 08033026624