House wives or wolves

In today’s complex world of man’s inhumanity against man, the incidence of domestic violence against women attracted global attention more than other forms of brutality or cruelty, at least, in the past three decades. Until recently, the high prevalence of the trend accounts for the growing statistics of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that work, through increased public awareness, to dissuade individuals against the phenomenon particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

For some socio-cultural and other customary reasons, men unlike women, have never being stereotyped or seen to be the primary target in all forms of domestic violence in many African societies. However, increasing media reports on violence against men by women in modern Nigeria are trying to turn the tide of domestic violence against men; suggesting that men would soon become ‘routine’ victims of violent attacks by ‘wild’ women.

Attack on prey is the natural pre-occupation of wild animals. Unfortunately, the women folk in Nigeria are fast taking over this savage characteristic from wolves. Wolves belong to the wildlife. They are animals that roam large distances, which like domestic dogs and jackals survive primarily by attacking their preferred prey, usually large animals that include deer, elk and moose. The conventional or traditional media has, in recent times been awash with stories of housewives violently attacking their spouses.

For example, the Daily Trust edition of Friday July 26, 2019 reports that a woman identified as Aisha on Friday stabbed her husband, Yahaya Maiyaki twice in the stomach after they had a misunderstanding in their home located at Sarduana Crescent in Kaduna metropolis. It was mentioned in the story that the couple had a misunderstanding the previous night.

According to the victim’s brother, Ahmed Maiyaki, “Aisha was already waiting for her husband with boiled water when he woke up for prayers, she poured the water towards where he was but fortunately he was able to dodge, she then threw pots at him and when she saw that he also managed to dodge, she got a knife and stabbed him in his lower abdomen.” The victim is currently receiving treatment at a private hospital in Kaduna. The marriage, which is blessed with a child, is five-years old. Spokesperson of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, confirmed the incident; adding that the suspect is in police custody and will be charged to court after investigations. The Daily Trust edition of Sunday July 21, 2019 did an elaborate report on the rising wave of wives’ violence against their husbands. The report is quite disturbing given the number of cases reported to have occurred in Kano State alone.

If it is generally believed that love is one of the basics upon which marriage is built, it becomes difficult to understand that which would prompt a wife to want to kill her husband.  Different people have lent credence to different theories. While some commentators allude to influence of drugs and substances, others including the ace columnist and creative writer, Hajiya Aisha Umar-Yusuf, suggest that some of the shameful, offensive and extremely romantic gestures engaged in by brides and their spouses at wedding receptions (sometimes called Walimah to Islamize it) could be strong factor in the current wave of violence against men. The sanctity of the marriage institution is jeopardized when a newly-wedded couple decides to display before the public what ought to be a bedroom affair.

Beyond Aisha’s hypothesis is the opinion of this writer which insinuates that the pricey nature of weddings in both urban and rural communities in modern Nigeria promotes domestic violence in many matrimonial homes. The Prophet (SAW) said expensive weddings are the less blessed. Beginning from dowry, through betrothal items (called Lefe in Hausa) to the wedding ceremony itself, wedding in recent times has extremely been taken beyond the borders of Islamic teachings. Wives of state governors (sorry, State First Ladies) could help by advising their husbands to regulate wedding expenses including which may include bride price. Sokoto State government, in the past enacted a law regulating wedding expenses. Whether the law is being enforced is another thing.

For most part of the first half of Nigeria’s unbroken twenty years of democratic experience, first ladies had programmes they initiated to either promote a policy initiative or suppress a particular social menace. This culture seems to have lost relevance among the ‘home fronts’ of many government houses. Rather than allow groups to start floating new NGOs on ‘domestic violence against men’, wives of state governors, especially in states where the trend is rife are encouraged to set up pet projects strategically conceived to discourage women from engaging in violence against men. I’m still trying to find excuses for this development. Resources are out of the explanations that may come my way.

If all the 36 first ladies refuse to push their husbands to regulate weddings in the states, I believe one of the ‘three’ governors in Nigeria, is positively disposed to regulating wedding expenses. Many proactive Nigerians believe that Nigeria had three governors between 2015 and 2019; Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufiai of Kaduna state, Kashim Shettima of Borno State and others. Now that Shettima’s tenure is over, it remains El-Rufai and other governors. I suggest to Dr Hadiza Balarabe, the courageous Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, to start thinking of an executive bill on this matter.

The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has a lot to do in order to halt the trend. Whoever is lucky from among the recently screened ministerial nominees to clinch the portfolio of this ministry should develop a deliberate programme that would seek to de-radicalize the psyche of northern women among whom substance and drug abuse has become an insidious ‘fashion’. As mothers of the future leaders of this country and as their first teachers from the home, a regional agenda designed to dissuade women from anything that leads them into wild or idiotic obsessions would be required to end the undesirable transformation of house wives into wolves.

It is not our desire to watch a generation of women becoming admirers of Maryam Sanda who is currently standing trial for allegedly stabbing her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, to death. We also do not wish that this emergent idiosyncrasy degenerates as to worsen the already long list of socio-economic challenges bedevilling the country especially the northern and poverty-stricken part of Nigeria.

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) will do well by re-orienting the thinking of Nigeria’s young men and women away from materialistic and anglomaniac tendencies. They should harp on the need for women to have high moral values and initiate programmes on radio and television which promote family values. May Allah (SWT) deliver our wives and husbands as well, from the mucky clutches of the devil, amin.

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