Recently the social media was trending with the news that of Maryam Sanda who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyamin Mohammed Bello, the father of her daughter, to death. This unfathomable heinous act has left me not only dumbfounded but heart-broken. Definitely, this is not the first time a woman stabbed her husband to death. Some time ago, a similar story, however, not exactly the same scenario happened in Jos where a woman poured hot water over her husband because he took a second wife. I don’t know the fate of the husband in Jos incidence.
The big question that needs answer is where did we miss it as people, as parents, as brother and as a society? Polygamy is a common practice in northern Nigeria especially about ten or more years ago. Those days, most households in the north were polygamous and the family had been largely peaceful. This is not to say there was no incidence of violence in such homes but definitely not to what we are having today. Sometimes, the minors are victimised. I read sometimes ago, a story of a woman who allegedly poisoned a child of a co-wife with a rat poison.
The practice has transcended social class boundary as both the rich and the poor families had once been victims. In a patriarch society like ours, men had also been perpetrators on many occasions.
In the world of social science, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has been well studied and many experts and pundits have ventilated their opinions on the subject matter. It is a form of domestic violence by a spouse or partner against the other spouse or partner. It can involve former or current intimate partner. It can take a number of forms including physical, verbal, economic, emotional and sexual abuses. The couples can be married, dating or cohabiting. According to statistics, about 32 million Americans suffered one form of partner violence or the other. Intimate partner terrorism is the extreme form of intimate partner violence where one partner uses violence to subjugate and control the other.
The victims of major partner violence in most of the cases were women and can engaged in self-defence, a term called violent residence, where a partner resisted his or her persecutor in a violent way. Situational couple violence is a milder form of partner violence that erupted between couples following altercation. It can take a form of slapping, hitting or verbal abuses. It is less frequent and mostly out of anger or frustration. Both male and female partners have been equally affected by this type of violence.
Research has found that early parenthood is a risk factor for domestic violence. Women who had children by age of 21 were twice as likely to be victims of intimate partner violence as women who had not been parent at that age. Men who had fathered children by age 21 were more than three times as likely to be abusers as men who were not fathers at that age. Furthermore, a significant relationship exists between male perpetrator problem drinking and violence against intimate female partners. Severe drinking problems increase the risk for lethal and violent victimization of women in intimate partner relationships. To extrapolate from the previous study, in northern Nigeria, we have high prevalence of substance abuse such codeine, shisha etc. and this could anecdotally play a role in the resurgence of partner violence and broken homes in the region.
The biggest monster destroying the life of youngsters especially in northern Nigeria is substance abuse. It was reported recently that 3million bottles of codeine are consumed daily in Kano. This is worrisome and catastrophic to the future of the youth. Governments, parents, ulamas, pastors need to collaborate in fighting the problem before it consumes us all. The practice of wife beating and molesting is also rampant and in some instances, the relation by the women resulted in an ugly scenario. We need to know that as men take a stick, women take knives. May the soul of Bilyamin Mohammed Bello rest in perfect peace.
Abdullahi Sadiq Mohammed,