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Lawyers condemn home violence, spousal abuse

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Domestic abuse

Three recent domestic violence incidents in Nigeria have elicited reactions from some lawyers in the country.

The incidents are the flogging of a woman mercilessly by her husband for allegedly sleeping with a neighbour, assault by a family on a widow for starting an affair with her dead husband’s brother and the beating up of a lady for allegedly sleeping with her friend’s husband.

The lawyers opined that inasmuch as adultery was frowned upon, taking the law into one’s own hands to assault a woman or lady because of alleged infidelity is condemnable, stressing that whoever feels cheated has the right to divorce.

Speaking on the severe bodily harm allegedly inflicted on an unidentified woman by her equally unidentified husband after the latter allegedly caught the former cheating on him with a neighbour, Lagos-based rights lawyer, Oluwole Ayomide Peter, condemned domestic violence and advised that anyone who feels short-changed in a relationship should either approach the courts to seek redress or settle issues amicably without resorting to physical assault on their loved ones.

He also advised the government and civil society groups to create adequate awareness to educate the Nigerians against home violence.

On his part, Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Bernard Onyeka Ekwo, said that home violence was dangerous because it can lead to permanent disability or death. He therefore enjoined couples and others to avoid home violence by controlling their anger when provoked. He also urged the government to educate Nigerians about the negative consequences of home violence.

Commenting on the issue of the widow (Folake Adebayo), the two lawyers frowned at the ill-treatment meted out to her. She reportedly said: “My mother in-law and my husband’s other relations are against the relationship, saying that I am dividing their family. I need help urgently!”

However, the lawyers noted that her right as an adult to choose her life partner without any molestation or intimidation is spelt out in the Nigerian constitution. They urged the family members of her late husband to exercise caution and allow the mother of two to enjoy her relationship with her partner.

In the same vein, the lawyers condemned the resort to self-help by a lady who reportedly beat up her friend for allegedly sleeping with her husband.

Ngozi Akakem allegedly stripped her friend, Nkiru, naked at the latter’s home. The defendant was arrested after the video of the embarrassing incident went viral.

She was arraigned on a 10-count charge but pleaded not guilty.

The magistrate granted her bail in the sum of N1 million and the case was adjourned till March 28. She was remanded in prison pending when she perfects her bail conditions.


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