Thursday 7 July 2011

Nigeria: The man speaks on the domestic violence death

Facing some tough choices

Last week, I lamented the impunity of domestic violence [1] and how we so easily acquiesce to the strictures of atrocious customs, appalling traditions and as one person averred religious obligations to accept and tolerate incidences of violence in failing marriages.

Our penchant for patching together the unworkable to save face and maintain status in society despite the fact that the community is fully aware of the deteriorating situation is just beyond belief.

Those who decide to do the radical and put an end to loveless wedlock might well face ostracism from all sectors of communities in which that have heretofore tried to save face as in their religious circles and extended family systems with the children bearing part of the brunt of the failure of their parents to work out the unworkable.

Having heard many sides of the story of the husband who allegedly stabbed and butchered his wife to death, the man himself has apparently given his version of the story [2].

What a tale

As incredible and almost unbelievable as the story sounds in reading one fears that an objective assessment of the clear facts, evidence and possible forensic analysis if available would be lost to superstitiously subjective acceptance of the implausible because we feel more comfortable with the suspension of reason where we can be blindsided with religious validation of improbable acts.

The man who many a time held the upper hand in the brutalisation of his wife suddenly casts himself as helpless and powerless against what he first describes as “the handiwork of spiritual wickedness in high places in operation.” Excerpted from Ephesians 6:12 (King James Version)

The invocation of a part of a verse of the Pauline epistles suddenly has us a captive audience literally hypnotised to take in everything else he has to say, we lose our alertness and soundness of mind that would immediately dispute silliness as we are held in trawl of those who can find scriptural justification for their dastardly acts.

The plot thickens

Having opened the door to our silly minds, we are fed a torrent of a statement that would find a classic plot in a Nollywood movie, what should be repeated verbatim.

If I tell you that I can fully grasps (sic) what happened that day then I will be lying, but that day my wife was not the Titi I know , she was possessed by a demon , she became stronger and wild and she stabbed me on my left hand, before I could stop her, she went on to stab me in the stomach, and all over my chest and when I tried to wrestle the knife from her I ended up being slashed on my right palm; as I was trying to get help, my wife had gone on to stab herself several times; unfortunately, she is dead and cannot talk about the incident.

With the dead wife cast as possessed of demon and beyond the control of any reason in her attack of her husband she denied us the ever so sympathetic inclination we as hearers of this tale might have had to exorcism the horrible demon that overcame her in harming first herself and then committing suicide.

The victim become culpable

For all the bizarre beliefs that we allow ourselves to accommodate, we would never hear the demon come forward to confess that it successfully acquired the person and ability of the wife to perpetrate such evil.

However, as the story develops, we have been absorbed into the world of the man as victim with a demonic wife whose reputation is now to receive the battering that would completely shift our sympathies from the wife to the husband.

He had a calling to be a man of God, he was betrothed to another woman, then this woman’s friend apparently bewitched him and for all his spiritual restraint fell into temptation that lead to premarital sex. The woman took in and having snared him with responsibility for the pregnancy he did the honourable thing of marrying her.

At which point we are already hugging the man in our hearts, believing him in our minds and speaking the most atrocious things about the woman cast as demonic and an ensnaring evil Jezebel of easy virtue.

The rest of the gruesome detail that lead to the death of the wife puts Steven King’s horror stories in the dust.

We love this man

Our sympathies for the man should become genuinely apathetic to the woman and our empathy grows for him with words to the effect.

“I love my wife, the truth is that my wife and I quarrelled a lot and the marriage was hell, I would have divorced her but the Bible passage that says that God hates divorce kept stopping me and I also thought of my daughter.”

This was a man giving all consideration to his religious obligations and faith and the need to keep the family unit going even though it was hell.

“If I had known, I would have divorced her a long time maybe I would not be in this mess today , my advice to young men is that they should hold on to God , they should not allow any lady or family pressure to lure them into marriage with pregnancy and they should divorce their wives if they have irreconcilable differences in their marriages and then ask God for forgiveness; it is better that way than ending in this mess as I am, I have learnt my lessons the hard way and I know God will vindicate me, because I did not kill my wife.”

Breaking this down, the man lacked prescience to realise that things might get really nasty, then he assumes the role of prelate dispensing advice to other men of who might fall prey to women of easy virtue as if there is no responsibility for men to resist temptation when presented with such a situation – presumably there is no presence of mind to find scripture to militate against “sin” but the very presence of many for exculpation and the shirking of blame.

It is now expedient to consider divorce in the midst of irreconcilable differences and God might well be called as witness for the defence and delivering the coup de grace – “I did not kill my wife.”

Surely, this is incredible

Where we should have had the presence of mind to assess the facts of the case and review all that must have lead to this tragedy we have been bamboozled with atrocious claims, improbable circumstances and unbelievable trash masquerading as some spiritual warfare where the wife already a victim of sorts from domestic violence, might well have been a victim again of murder and then a victim of defamation; probably brought on by her seductive charms but nonetheless completed by the man’s lack of self-control, honesty and honour.

It would have been easy to just discard the story as one of a coward not ready to face up to his crimes but for some of the comments that appeared beneath the news story which for all intents and purposes makes one worry about the way we are easily cajoled by the manipulation and misinterpretation of religious text to suit selfish ends.

Hearing the people

A sampling of the comments from men and women alike quite interesting to read.

“… We wrestle not against flesh and blood so what happened to him might have been an attack or maybe he actually did it but only God has the final say.” (Male)

“Hello Pat, it’s not really gd (good) to judge pple (people) like dat (that), ohhhh (O) yes we r (are) woman (women) I understand but am (I’m) very sure dis (this) man is speaking d (the) truth.” (Female)

“In fact most of these so called fast lane men/women pretending to be Christians/pastors whereas they are agents of Satan operating in sheep’s clothing.” (Female)

“The guy must be watching a lot of Nigerian movies ... he's acting or recounting one!” (Male)

“Yours is the best bent on this fantasy! I couldn't help but laugh.” (Male)

“How can a lady that jumped on you as soon as you enter(ed) her room with a knife in hand have locked all the door(s), thus preventing your escape?” (Male)

“Something tells me God must have created women to annoy men. Even if you are to rot in jail, speak out. Killing your wife was unjustifiable but what happen. We are waiting for Godot.” (Male)

“...and there folks, is the OTHER side of the story... interesting that it sounds plausible.” (Male)

“Super story indeed. So who do we believe now? Unfortunately, the woman is not alive to recount her own side of the story. Too bad. God help us.” (Female)

“Basil my brother, how you dey? HE IS A DEVIL FROM THE PIT OF HELL. This is one case of domestic violence that we must see to a logical conclusion. The Nigerian version of the OJ Simpson case.” (Female)

Any hope for justice?

This is just a cross-section of comments that number about 150 which makes one feel that the man could plead to a reduced homicide or man-slaughter charge with diminished responsibility we the legal authorities buy this cock and bull of a story.

For all that is unknown about what lead to the death of this man’s wife, his story must for all intents of objectivity be the least plausible, the most unacceptable and just unbelievable; the question would then be if the wife and their daughter have any hope of getting justice in Nigeria.

Backtracking to the point of seeing the man as innocent until proven guilty, it is not the man's story that bothers me; it is the readiness for many to believe the story that might put justice beyond the reach of those who deserve it.


[1] Nigeria: Facing down the impunity of domestic violence

[2] - Murder suspect denies killing wife

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