By Lucy Ackanyon
Stories of men and women willfully killing their spouses seem to be gradually becoming a norm in most parts of the country. More worrisome is, the anomaly is fast taking a toll on couples.
Recently, an argument ensued between a married couple whose marriage obviously was on the verge of collapse and the wife had openly threatened that she would kill the husband, and also take away her life in the process.
“This life will not contain me and you, I will kill you and kill myself so that you will not maltreat another woman”, the bittered wife had said.
Also, few weeks ago, residents of Zaki Biam Street, in the Wadata area of Makurdi, Benue State woke up to a horrifying sight of a young man who was set ablaze in his house, by his girlfriend.
According to media reports, the young woman, named Miss Esther Alex, whose age is between 17 and 18 years, rose out of the bed, deep into the night, and fetched a gallon of petrol which she had earlier brought and hid in a nearby corner outside the house, emptied the content round the room, lit fire and took to her heels while she locked the door.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend identified as Chidinma Ikechukwu was asleep. Chidinma, a patent medicine seller, fondly called Doctor, had slept off. He was only awakened by the smoke from the fire which had enveloped the room. His cry alerted his neighbours who rushed to the scene.
However, all efforts to rescue Chidinma from the fire proved abortive. He was eventually brought out from the burnt house, with severe first degree burns, and was rushed to Federal Medical Center, Makurdi where he died, few hours after.
Although, the culprit, Esther had confessed to the crime during an interview with journalists and said she was unfairly treated by her boyfriend, Chidinma, a situation she stated propelled her to commit the dastardly act.
Esther, an undergraduate student of Law at the Benue State University claimed that before the sad incident, she had two abortions for her boyfriend but rather than marry her, he went off to pay the bride price of another lady.
Retrospectively, one Mr. Jude (surname withheld) was burnt in his house in Gboko recently by his girlfriend who it was learnt, was less than 25 years of age.
Also, lately in the year 2020, a midle-aged man who was already married with children burnt himself and his girlfriend in a house in Makurdi. The reason was that his girlfriend had refused to marry him.
Still fresh in the memories of many people in Makurdi is the gruesome murder of Mr. Nicholas, a staff of Makurdi Local Government Area, with his three kids, who were allegedly killed by his wife who later murdered herself. Before she died, it was reported that the woman attempted to set the house on fire to kill both his husband and children.
Similarly, there was story of a 31 years-old police Inspector, Dan Matakaya, who narrowly escaped been murdered by his wife but escaped with devastating defect on his face.
The young inspector was poured acid on his face by his wife while he was asleep. His partner had firstly poured water on the floor and connected electricity to prevent the man from escaping out of the room.
Of course, it was reported that neigbours had rushed the victim to the hospital. His life was saved however, he became blind due to the acid bathed on him. The list of such cases is endless.
It is fact that in each of the domestic violent cases, the offenders always have their claims that push them to the crime.
For instance, Esther Alex killed Chidinma for refusing to marry her while Mrs. Dan Matakaya turned the handsome looking face of her husband into disfigure over a simple house disagreement.
Rather, it is unfortunate that in most cases, the offenders are women. By their nature, women are believed to be tender and not so capable of handling violent induced emotional acts. The big question is; why is the popularly acclaimed tender gender taking the lead in violent acts? It may not be out of place to attribute their wrongful actions to the power of imbalance that exists between men and women, husbands and wives alike.
Analysts have posited that most domestic violent acts perpetrated by women are due to their inability to contend the men in physical, economic, and political standards and so, they become agitated and vent their frustration over minor disagreements.
Also, the involvement of youths in the dastardly acts can be attributed to the deteriorating moral standards largely due to the rising wave of criminality.
This situation can further depict how much the new generation of people, are deficient in moral values. It also shows how much the society has lost touch with traditional values that hitherto were preserved by morality and decency.
In many traditional African societies, including Nigeria, such killings from domestic violence would be considered abominable and highly condemnable.
Evidently, not much has been reported of punitive actions that were meted out on some of the accusers of the crime. The role of proper investigations by security agents and adjudication of justice is quite questionable. Same way, it is unclear how far the media follow such cases to let the world know the outcome? Where are the civil societies (CSOs)? What is the traditional and religious institutions doing? These questions are begging for answers.
The rampant cases of domestic violence is taking dangerous turn and there is urgent need for more proactive measures to be employed to curb it.
To this end, the church, media, traditional and religious institutions, as well as civil societies can ensure a positive change is achieved.
Also, marriage counsellors should teach couples on crisis management skills and strategies. Particularly, the Church should incorporate crisis management as an important topic in the curriculum of marriage courses which couples must undergo before adminstering Holy Matrimony, while traditional institution should help in reviving cultural practices.
More importantly, the legal institution must strive at all times to ensure that justice is served by way of punishing offenders. This way, the punitive measures will serve as deterrence and further forge prevention of domestic violence induced acts.