In the World of Nigeria’s Killer Wives

 By EGHOSA ADEZI


Sunday, November 19 2017, the 

wind was gushing and its screams were like that of a wailing banshee, the harmattan season had only just begun, with the temperature below 15 degrees census in the federal capital territory. At about 9 to 10pm that night, tension started to build between Bilyaminu and his wife, Maryam at their 4 Pakali Close, Wuse 2 Abuja residence, the couple who got married some 12 years ago blessed with a beautiful Eight Months old daughter sparked into arguments of extra marital issues that morning after Maryam allegedly found a nude photo on her hubby’s phone.

Why there seem to be conflicting arguments on what happened that night, no one can conclude on what transpired. Did Maryam Sanda kill Bilyaminu? Did Bilyaminu trip and fell on a shisha pot? Can a shisha pot imprint multiple stab wounds on a full grown man? These were warring questions pondering on my mind when writing this piece.

While the police is yet to fully brief the public on their investigative findings, in a matter already in court and has been through several sittings, the world is still in the dark on the events that unfolded that faithful day.

Although, there seem to be several reports from different sources on the issue, but the account made by Ibrahim Muhammed seemed to be the most accurate information yet, as he claimed to have witnessed the genesis that led to Bilyaminu’s murder.

At a recent court sitting, Muhammed said he had earlier prevented Sanda from stabbing her husband with a broken bottle when the argument initially ensued.

“We were together watching TV and taking shisha in their sitting room up till 8pm on the very day Bilyaminu died,”Muhammed told the court.”

“He went upstairs and didn’t return on time. I started hearing noise. Later on, Sadiya came downstairs to tell me that Maryam will like to see me.

“I climbed up and saw both of them holding each other’s clothes. Maryam told me she wanted a divorce and that I should help her tell the husband.

According to the eyewitness (Muhammed), Maryam refused to leave her husband, insisting that he must agree to the divorce.

He said “I used my hand to remove her hand from the husband’s clothes but the fight continued”.

He also said that there was a groundnut bottle in the room and that Maryam broke it and attempted to stab her husband but he (Muhammed) prevented it.

Muhammed finally said he was unable to settle the couple’s quarrel, adding that he had to call some of their relatives.

“Usman Aliyu, advised me to leave the house that it was not right to be too involved in a quarrel between husband and wife.

“Later on, one Abba-Bello, a brother to Bilyaminu, called me and told me to come to Maitama Hospital that Bilyaminu had died”, Muhammed ended his testimony.

Muhammed who seems to be the only person presumed to give an accurate imagery on what might have gone wrong, it is quite important that some necessary angles be explored.

First, Muhammed made mention of himself and the late Bilyaminu was taking shisha (tobacco) in the sitting room, before he (Bilyaminu) went upstairs. The statement vividly might have pointed out a clearer image on the events that night.

The Police biggest strength in getting a conviction against Maryam lies in the fact on them proving that she (Maryam) attacked her husband with the knowledge that her act was likely to cause his death, in a nutshell premeditated.

But the deceased friend, Muhammed said in court that they were taking tobacco at the time, making most persons wonder if the couple were drug addicts.

We can’t run from the fact that highest rate of drug abuse in Nigeria can be found in the northern part of the country, especially with the recent BBC’s documentary on Codeine abuse.

So this actually raise the question, Could Maryam Sanda might have been ‘high’ on something? Could it have been tobacco, marijuana or cocaine? We never know.

The success of Maryam lawyers proving that she might have been under the influence of a substance could as well take the case to a different direction.

But it will seem that in the album of Nigeria’s killer wives, Maryam Sanda does not single alone.

A Delta State High court sitting in Effurun recently sentenced a woman to death for killing her husband.

Mrs. Mary Attah was found by the court culpable to murder of her husband, Pastor Darlington Attah on July 6th 2012.

It was discovered that the couple were having a nice time, but were infuriated by a telephone call, which prompted Mrs. Attah to rush to the kitchen, collected the murder weapon, a knife and pepper, which she rubbed on her husband’s face to immobilize him, before stabbing him in the neck.

Not satisfied, she dosed the bleeding husband with fuel and set him ablaze. It was learnt that he later gave up the ghost at the Warri central hospital.

Pathetic stories of wives murdering their husbands has risen in recent times, with issues of infidelity the most common reason for a killer wife actions, with the story of an Ibadan based lawyer, Yewande Oyediran who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on November 27, 2017 by an Oyo State High Court in Ibadan for stabbing her husband to death.

At the time, many thought the judgment would scare other women from indulging in similar acts. But they were wrong. Since then, a number of wives have killed their husbands.

Yewande, an assistant director in the Oyo State Ministry of Justice, was alleged to have stabbed her husband, Lowo Oyediran, a France based businessman, to death during a domestic scuffle. She reportedly knifed her husband to death on February 2, 2016, at their 30 Adeniyi Layout Abidi-Odan, Akobo, Ibadan home.

On April 26 2017, a 45-year-old father of six, Babatunde Eso, escaped death by the whiskers in Lagos. He was allegedly bathed with a pot of boiling pepper by his wife over what the man called a little disagreement.

It was gathered that Eso suffered severe burns to his head, face, chest, nose and mouth. He has been unable to speak and is having difficulties in breathing, up to the time of putting this report together. He has remained on admission at the hospital since then, fighting for his life.

The victim had narrated to his sister what transpired between him and his wife before his condition deteriorated. His sister earlier stated that her brother was attacked after the man jokingly informed his wife that the person calling her on the phone was her boyfriend.

It was gathered that the woman burst into uncontrollable rage, which led to a heated argument between the two.

However the most tragic incident, which brought considerable shock on the faces of millions of Nigeria, happened on May 3, 2018, when a lawyer identified as Udeme allegedly stabbed her husband, Otike Odibi, to death. She also reportedly severed the husband’s manhood and placed it in his right hand. The incident happened at about 7.30am at Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lagos.

The deceased, Odibi, also a lawyer, was said to have been married to his alleged killer, Udeme, for three years.

The police public relations officer, Chike Oti, said the Divisional Police Officer, Ogombo, Ajah, Lagos, received a distress call that Odibi had been murdered in his home by his wife.

“Based on the information, the DPO mobilized a team of detectives to the scene, where they found the man lying on the bed in a pool of his own blood, with his stomach ripped open exposing the intestine. As if that was not enough, the killer severed his genitals and placed it in his right hand.

“However, before the arrival of the police, Mrs. Udeme was said to have unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide after it dawned on her that her spouse was dead. But she was rushed to the hospital for treatment by neighbors.

“Further information from a neighbor revealed that the deceased called him on phone in the night before he was murdered, complaining that the wife was threatening to kill him with a knife. The said neighbor, however, warned him to be careful. The deceased also called his mother and his younger sister complaining of a threat to his life that fateful night,” he said.

A few months before the Bilyaminu and Maryam saga, Mrs. Folashade Idoko, an auxiliary nurse, was arrested by the police for stabbing her husband, 32-year-old Lawrence Idoko, to death at their home in Ayetoro, Oto-Awori Local Council Development Area of Lagos. The suspect allegedly accused her husband of infidelity.


It appears that, these days, many women seem to have discovered the panacea to the long years of suffering in the hands of abusive and philandering spouses. They are increasingly converting their kitchen knives and other weapons of destruction in their homes to their personal use.

On why women kill their husbands these days, especially in a relationship in which there was no previous evidence of domestic violence, Celine Njoku, a guidance and counseling psychologist with Education District V, Lagos State Ministry of Education, said it was sometimes due to jealousy and quest to protect their love from intruders.

“When a woman starts feeling insecure, she thinks she is at the risk of losing her partner to someone else. Court documents refer to it as jealous rage or morbid jealousy. That is often the cause of the murders. In some cases of prior abuse, it makes the perpetrator lash out with lethal violence. There is an element of madness, hopelessness, frustration and emotional trauma.

“Love can equally make a woman kill her husband when her spouse is suffering from a chronic physical illness and she can no longer watch him in pain. She could poison him,” Njoku said.

Also commenting on the issue, a consultant psychiatrist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and senior lecturer, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Yewande Oshodi, decried the spate of physical violence being perpetrated by the womenfolk, saying that it has become a worrisome trend.

She said the drift in the killing spree might suggest a huge amount of unresolved frustration among couples with little options or outlets for seeking or receiving support.

“People must be able to ask for help and also deploy appropriate coping skills to handle life’s frustrations and stresses. Murder or suicide is never a solution. A case in which a person chooses to kill a spouse and kill herself is suggestive of a person who has decided to act in a maladaptive or criminal manner of addressing her problems. Such a person or couple should seek help and benefit from couple or individual counseling early before things deteriorate”, Oshodi added.

The view of both professionals on the reasons for the emergence of killer wives carries a strong account. Although because of its trend now, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a long time coming. This is the view of West Kadmiel, Executive Director of Impact Africa. 

Kadmiel believes that high rate of domestic abuse of men who have turned their wives into punching bags has not helped the emergence of the trend. He explained that most women in abusive relationship are dying in silence, scared and battling with depression. He also added that these women wear a big smile in public in a bid to tell the world all is well, but are desperately in need of a savior.

“These women are desperately in need of help. Not all of them kill their husbands because of infidelity, in fact research has showed that women are far more able and experienced to handle a cheating spouse than men. 80% of men in marriage are engaging in infidelity, have they all been killed? It is when the patience of the woman is taken too far, that is when problem arises. 

“Most men have very little respect for their wives. The insult them in public, not knowing that such attitude kills the woman’s self esteem. Some men beat their wives at least three times a week, it is that bad. Now when the woman who has been dying in silence, she finally voice out in the most unfortunate manner, the worldcastigates her. I believe that most killer wives murders are premeditated, but I also believe it is suicide too, because when you continuously torture a woman for years, be ready to contain her response.

“So there need to be awareness on these issues of domestic violence, infidelity and the rest. It shouldn’t be seen as a part of life, these are sacred vows made at the alter or where the marriage was held, been broken and we think there are no consequences? It’s really sad. NGO’s, CSO’s, Media everyone needs to speak up”, he said.

There seem not to be a near end of the trend currently turning a menace, as more news headlines like ‘Love gone sour’ ‘Wife turn killer’ ‘Husband killer’ ‘Female assassin’ keeps rocking various pages of newspapers and our TV screens. 


Eghosa Adezi is a Communications Strategist and also the Assistant Secretary of Sports writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Edo State chapter. He writes from Benin City.

Advertisements

I AM TOO YOUNG TO RUN

By EGHOSA ADEZI

“Bros have you heard what the President did?”

“What again, has he gone back to London again, because if it’s that, am not interested”

“No now, it’s more better than that, he has actually signed the Not too young to run bill into law”

“Seriously, Na wa o. so this man sabi run show like this?”

“But bros ehn  that one self Na small thing, he also declared June 12 as Democracy day and conferred a Posthumous GCFR title on the presumed winner of the election, Chief MKO Abiola”

“Correct, Na so e suppose be. This news has been long overdue, if you ask me. Many of us who are students of history have waited patiently for a responsible government to look beyond political sentiments and propagandas. But please o, why is it that this development was now finally made by a Fulani president, despite a south-west president occupying office from 1999 to 2006, and even your brother Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was even in office too. So tell me, what have been reactions in the social media? I suspect the announcement must have began to reveal a lot of pretenders”    

“In fact ehn, the matter carry gbeghe o. so many persons have turned gurus of the constitution overnight. But above it is important to note MKO remains the symbol of Nigeria’s democracy. Without MKO we would not have today”

“You are absolutely right my brother. MKO indeed was a Leader and true patriot, who is really deserving of this honor. Oya gist me the other matter Na”

“Which matter?”

“The Not too young to run bill signing of course”

“Okay that gist. The issue also raised some controversies, as the president jokingly told representatives of youths across the nation, to wait till 2023 before vying for the position of President because of his presidential bid for 2019”

“But that’s purely normal though, no man in his right mind will see a man setting fire in his house and will then give the man fuel to continue the act”

“So you are supporting the President Abi”?

“Why are you talking like this? So you want the man to support a youth to vie for a position he has declared for Abi?”

“That one no con concern me again o”

“Anyway what were the adjustments in the bill?”

“Yes, essentially, you had to be 40 years of age to contest for the office of president. With the new Act, you can run for the office of president at age 35”

“Hehe”

“Yes o, and e never finish o, the bill also said at 25years of age, you can run for a House of Representatives seat. You had to be 30 years of age to seek the position of House of Reps, before President’s assent”

“O boy no be small thing o. But wait, are you saying that before a 40 year old could contest for the position of President for this Naija”

“Hehe Na”

“And never a time did a 40 year old came out to vie for the Presidency?”

“Why are you asking me?”

“I need to know now, because you are very vast in these issues”

gbe ẹrù idọti lọ si apa naa

“God forbid my mouth is not dirty. You have to agree with me having a 40 year old president would still be categorized as young too”

“Yes my friend, your mouth is actually not too dirty. But the major issue that gives me worries is the financial force. Am still trying to imagine where a young man of 35 will be able to raise money enough to push through a presidential campaign. It’s indeed going to be difficult, unless the young chap get Maga wey dey deliver regularly, but even if, Efcc will surely nab a lot of people when assets declaration begins ahead of the polls be it 2019 or 2023”

“Who told you that? Are you saying the bill is actually a plot to nab Yahoo fraudsters because I hear say Federal Sars just dey harass any young bobo wey dress fine with flashy car?”

“I never said that, but the bill gives opportunity to young persons to vie for sensitive political positions which take high financial obligations and experience to acquire. So my worries are that it would not be a jolly good ride for the youths. Just imagine the money to print posters, buy campaign vehicles and even to influence the electorates. Bros all that amount to Billions o, be it Presidency or National Assembly. The money no be here. And as for Sars, I don talk about that matter tire, dem just dey stress young people. I hear there’s even a new name for the fear of Sars called ‘Sarsophobia’.”

“Saso wetin? Omo Na because of their oga at the top transmission transmitted abi?

“That’s transmission omission blunder no con concern me o, have you not heard they have started picking up different journalists because of that video. So just leave me out of it please”

Chineki ọnụ m dị nso, I won’t talk again o. Hehe that Not too young to run matter, don’t you think that the President only signed it swiftly to make up for the #LazyNigerianYouths comment?”

“No I don’t think so, it’s actually a lot different from that. Moreover he also apologized for the comment, saying that the youths are the country’s most important resource, not even oil or agriculture”

“The man get lyrics for mouth o, I just hope say these youths later don’t start saying they are ‘Too Young To Run’ when the going gets tough”

“That’s also part of my worries my brother, because if you reason the current level of politics played in this country you will see that a young man managing his life can’t survive in it, even though he carries Martin Luthur King jr. and Nelson Mandela’s dreams all together in his head”

 “But I know some young Nigerians with plenty money from legitimate source that can contest for presidency o”

“Name them, and don’t you dare include Wizkid, Davido and Mikle Obi o”

“Na those ones i know bros”

“Although I do know a couple of them young lads that can match the political powers of this nation financially and otherwise, but leadership is a lot more than money my friend. It also entails some qualities which I can hardly see enough young people with. The most important thing now are for young people to upgrade themselves. Young people should begin to inculcate some basic principles and also improve intellectually. Our brothers and sisters have to grow past just being mere social media freaks. And involve in national discourse and propel sound blueprint to take this nation to the promise land”

gị onwe gị kwa maara nwanne m nwoke. You have said it all. Our young people are more interested in taking snapchats and instagrams videos, searching for haters when they are their own major haters. Kainzu”

“Yes madness it is. For it is only a madman that lives a life no purpose and still feels purposeful inside”

“But bros you hear say Wizkid sold out O2 arena in London”

“Yeah, I did and Davido went to perform in a country most Nigerians barely know exist and sold the show out”

“Chai. Those boys are really doing this nation proud”

“According to Atiku, they are now the pride of this nation. From nowhere that one because of presidency bid come turn entertainer overnight. This country self”

“Leave oga Articulated alone. But someone said your sister, Linda don carry belle o”

Jọwọ fi mi silẹ ni alaafia. Did you hear that my surname starts with I. And for your information that matter don pass o, the baby go soon land”

“Do you know the father?”

“It is me Na, nonsense abeg come dey go”

 

This article was inspired by my hero and mentor Ruben Abati’s exceptional piece “Atiku Articulation and other Stories”.

Eghosa Adezi is a Communications Strategist and also, Assistant Secretary, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Edo State chapter. He writes from Benin City.

Divorce in Nigeria, The Untold Story

By EGHOSA ADEZI

I watched young Amanda cry endlessly, as her mom drove out of the premises of Abuja High court as the divorce papers, had just been finalized following the annulment of the marriage by the sitting judge. Amanda might never see her dad again after her mom gained full custody of her, said a lawyer who had been ever present through the Macaulays divorce saga.

Mr and Mrs Macaulay moved to Abuja from Lagos, following Mr Johnson Macaulay transfer by the company he works. Johnson had only just rose to the position of technical adviser in the pharmaceutical company he works and following his outstanding performance in the company headquarters in Lagos, Johnson was promoted to the position of Technical Director and subsequently transferred to Abuja.

Mrs Macaulay loved the prospect of moving to Abuja, as she had often fantasize the feeling of living in the federal capital territory like her younger sister Edit who moved to Abuja after her marriage two years earlier before the transfer.

So Mrs Macaulay welcomed the transfer with open arms, as one time she described the traffic gridlock situation in lagos as “excruciating and annoying”.

From savings and the raise he got following the promotion, Mr Macaulay was able to acquire for his family, a fanciful and comfortable three bedroom flat in Wuse 2, as Mrs Macaulay insisted on living in a commercial but serene neighbourhood.

But just has things began to work out perfectly, life then took an unfortunate turn as Mr Macaulay lost his job in the company barely five months after moving to the FCT, following a total overhauling by the owners and life just went sour.

Living in Abuja can be quite interesting and sweet, but living without a job that’s suicide.

According to young Amanda “Dad really tried to get things going, but it wasn’t just working. I heard my parents most nights arguing over bills and Mom didn’t want to give him a break”. 

Unlike most teenagers her age, they would have probably been hanging out with friends or cooling off watching movies at home, but instead Amanda found herself shuffling between her Aunt, Edit house and the Abuja High court.

Eventually at the day of judgment, it was all about who to gain custody of Amanda, with both Mr and Mrs Macaulay having made their submissions known in subsequent sittings.

The sitting judge said “The little child needs her parents, but it appears we are way past solving this matter amicably and both parties have already set out their heart for a divorce.

“But let me add that it would have done this young child more good if you stayed together as a family, nevertheless the child needs to be catered for and it appears the father cannot afford that now, leaving the mother as the obvious choice.

“I believe as a mother too, the child needs her mother”.

Following the judgment an overwhelming smile emerged on former Mrs Macaulay face. She had finally got her wish for a divorce and also custody of her daughter, for life would now continue.

After five years today, young Amanda now 17 years of age, has seen her mom go through series of emotional trauma following different unsuccessful relationships. 

She told this writer “i think she never found that spark she had with my dad. Nothing felt right anymore for her and the worst part, she ruined my childhood just to make herself happy and never found happiness”.

Amanda currently struggling with depression and drug addiction, has now become a shadow of that beautiful young girl with a unique smile, now lives with her mom, Ms Macaulay in a small apartment in Gwagwalada area of Abuja with life never to be the same again.

Like the story of young Amanda, different studies has revealed that the most affected casualties in divorce cases are the children.

A 1970 study on divorce by an American based group, it was gathered then that young children might have difficulty falling asleep and older children might have trouble at school. Men and women might become depressed or frenetic, throwing themselves into sexual affairs or immersing themselves in work.

The study further went on to conclude that after a year or two, it is expected, most would get their lives back on track, at least outwardly. Parents and children would get on with new routines that is if they remarry, new friends and new schools, taking full opportunity of the second chances that divorce brings at its wake.

These studies i have come to realize, were wishful thinking. In 2017, working with a small online group, I began a study of the effects of divorce on middle-class people who continued to function despite the stress of a marriage breakup.

My findings were breathtaking. 

First of all, the reasons people ask for divorce are quite interesting. In a recent divorce sitting at a customary court in Benin, a civil servant, identified as Joke, asked the court to dissolve her 26-year-old marriage to her 54-year-old husband, Azeez, over alleged lack of love, laziness and acts of irresponsibility.

Joke, a civil servant, in her petition for divorce, said that her unemployed husband had refused to seek new employment since he lost his job years ago.

“My husband does not beat me, but i go through psychological and verbal abuse in his hands every day.

“He is not appreciative of all my endeavours, embarrasses me at will and talks down at me even in public.

”The emotional stress is unbearable, i pray the court to separate us so that I can live comfortably.

“He is lazy and frustrated, thereby transferring his aggression to everybody around him,”she said.

In another separate divorce trial, a trader, Imade, appealed to another Customary Court to dissolve her 24-year-old marriage for alleged fetishness.

“My husband is fetish, he robs his male organ with a substance whenever he wanted to make love to me,’’ Imade, 41, said.

“He beats me at will and does not allow me to go out, neither did he allow my family to visit me, it was as if I was in prison while in his house.

“He comes home late at night and would not tell me his where about. I left his house since 2009 and I want a divorce,’’ she said.

Family breakdown poses the single biggest risk to children’s mental health once they reach their teens, research suggests.

An analysis of almost 11,000 families found that having parents who split up was the strongest single influence on girls’ mental health, particularly on emotional problems. It was the joint strongest factor in boys’ mental health, with strong links to behavioural problems.

For girls with cohabiting parents the odds of developing poor mental health were slightly lower, at 1.2 times, but for girls whose parents have separated the effect was larger and they were 1.6 times more likely to exhibit emotional problems, just like the case of Amanda.

According to Suzy Miller, a divorce strategist urges parents to remember this, “When children watch their narcissistic mother or father play out their games of mutual destruction, they are learning that relationships are not about love, but about control and winning whatever the cost.

“They learn that a moral misdeed by one parent can be the excuse for a litany of misdeeds by the other, justified as retaliation. They learn that love has no place in their home, and therefore, to not trust love from anywhere.”

Divorce is the most difficult phase of a married couple’s life. As adults, they might eventually get over the tough period, but children become a collateral casualty. Their minds are tender and can slip into a state of shock on seeing parents split forever.

The adverse effects of divorce can be long-lasting on children and may impact their own relationships. Studies have shown that in the US, the daughters of divorced parents have a 60% higher divorce rate than those of non-divorced parents. The number is 35% for sons.

Children who witness a divorce could be disturbed by the thought of not seeing their parents together again and therefore develop short-term effects like Anxiety, Mood swings, Intense Sadness, Delusion and even Depression.

A new study concluding that whether parents cooperate or not makes little difference to how children cope with divorce. So “Does divorce always damage children?”

No. Divorce does not always damage children. In many cases, mainly where there have been high levels of conflict between spouses, both adults and children are better off after the split, especially in the immediate aftermath. It’s easy to see why. When mom and dad regularly have a go at one another, it creates a toxic environment at home.

Divorce brings relief from stress.

It must be important to note that children perceive divorce very differently from the parents. To the parents, the reason for the split is obvious. But it may not be to the kids. One day mom and dad are at home, mostly getting on fine, maybe a bit of bickering or a bit of a sour atmosphere, but not the end of the world. The next day they have split up. What on earth happened? Was it me? Or is that how relationships are? They just go pop for no apparent reason? 

That kind of thinking can sabotage the way children think about relationships when they become adults themselves.

When parents then get along fine after the divorce, it can becomes even more confusing for the children.

Why on earth couldn’t you make it work, parents?

That’s why the whole idea of cooperative parenting makes so little difference to children. It’s how they perceive the divorce that matters, not how the parents think they perceive it.

In Nigeria, Divorce is awfully common today, there have been 12,000 cases of divorce since 1975 and the chances that this number may triple before 2020 is very high.

Reports have further shown that the divorce rate in the northern part of Nigeria are much higher. It would seem as though people divorce just for the fun of it these days, but not the story of Maimuna Abdullahi. 

At a hospital in one of the commercial areas of kaduna, Maimuna face was battered and swelled so much, that doctors feared her husband had dislocated her jaw. Her back and arms bristled with angry welts from the whipping her father gave her for fleeing to him. She was gaunt from hunger, dressed in filthy rags. And barely a year after her wedding, she was divorced.

It would be a tragic story for a woman of any age. But for Maimuna Abdullahi, it all happened by the time she was 14.

In an interview she granted MICHELLE FAUL, “I’m too scared to go back home,” she whispers, a frown crinkling her brow as she fiddles nervously with her hands. “I know they will force me to go back to my husband.”

Maimuna is one of thousands of divorced girls in Nigeria, children who were forced into marriage and have since run away or been thrown out by their husbands. They are victims of a belief that girls should get wed rather than educated, which drew the world’s attention after Boko Haram terrorists abducted more than 200 schoolgirls more than six years ago and threatened to marry them off. Although some have been reported to be returned, as most are still missing.

Maimuna’s former husband, Mahammadu Saidu, blames her few years of school for her disobedience. A handsome man of 28 who is obviously proud of his ankle-high boots, he does not deny beating his wife.

Nigeria, a country of about 170 million, has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. The law of the land states that the age of consent, and thus of marriage, is 18.

However, the custom of child marriage is still ingrained enough that even a middle-aged federal senator has married five child brides and divorced at least one.

Across the country, one in five girls are married before the age of 15, according to the United Nations. In the desperately poor Muslim north, where child marriage is often considered acceptable by shariah or Islamic law, that number goes up to one in two.

There are no official numbers for just how many of these girls get divorced, often ending up destitute and shunned by their families. But they are all too visible.

A few miles from where Maimuna lives, children her age and younger sell their bodies to truck drivers, flitting in and out of vehicles.


The tradition of child marriage has been discovered to be rooted partly in poverty. This is an area where most people do not have running water, electricity or indoor toilets, where children get only three or four years of schooling.

A marriageable daughter can bring in a bride price and mean one less mouth to feed.

The link between child marriage and education is clear. Only 2 percent of married girls in Nigeria go to school, compared to 69 percent of unmarried girls, according to the United Nations.

Some 73 percent of married girls received no schooling, and three out of four cannot read at all.

However it has been revealed that so some girls are now rebelling in other ways.

A 14-year-old forced to marry a 39-year-old, poisoned the groom’s food a week after their wedding, killing him and three of his friends in Kaduna recently.

Eghosa Adezi is the Assistant Secretary of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN) Edo State Chapter.

OBASEKI UNVEILS REBRANDED INSURANCE FC, COMMENDS DEPUTY, SHAIBU

OBASEKI UNVEILS REBRANDED INSURANCE FC, COMMENDS DEPUTY, SHAIBU

BY EGUAKUN EDOSEGHE

The Governor of Edo state, His Excellency, Mr Godwin Obaseki on Tuesday, amidst pomp unveiled the new logo,  jerseys,  team bus, technical crew lead by Monday Odigie and the brand manual of Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin.

The landmark event which took place at the Festival Hall, Government House, Benin-city, had in attendance the creme of the football fraternity in Nigeria led by the President of  Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick,Captains of Industries, as well as political bigwigs in Edo State.

Unveiling the rebranded corporate identity of the state-owned Football Club, the Governor, an avid Supporter of the Nigeria National league team, disclosed that the purpose was to make the club a reference point in terms of Standards and Professionalism in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

“Our role as a Government is to revive our spirit of sportsmanship. We see sports as playing a significant role in uplifting the lives of our youths and giving them hope for a better Country. This is a duty we owe the State and the Nation and trust me, we are up to the task”.

The Governor commended his Deputy Rt.hon, Com.Philip Shaibu who coordinated the event and presented power points to drive home the rebranding message.

“When we were campaining i told Edo people that the Deputy Governor will be in charge of Youths and Sports in the State,now with what we have seen today the Government did not make a mistake”.

Governor Godwin Obaseki also called on business operators in the state to support his administration in its bid to ensure that the state regains its place of pride in sports.

“We are going to be emphasising grassroots sports, especially with the design and contract to build a mini-stadium per local Government Councils having been done. We also seize the opportunity to encourage Organisations to set up Sports Arenas to get our young Men and Women active”.

Edo State Deputy Governor, Com Philip Shaibu, Heads the state Government   High powered committee to revive Sports in Edo and with the unveiling of the rebranded Bendel Insurance FC,Football enthusiasts expect the team to make the State proud by gaining promotion to the elite division in the Country

​A​FTER 8 MONTHS IN LIBYA PRISON, 6 YEAR OLD RETURNS HOME

A​FTER 8 MONTHS IN LIBYA PRISON, 6 YEAR OLD RETURNS HOME

BY EGHOSA ADEZI

Emmanuel Eromosele, was  seen playing around inside the popular motel Benin plaza in Benin  City, Edo State recieving point for the Libya Returnees.

The 6 year old was so consumed with the rare freeedom he had barely experienced in the last one year. 

Emmanuel, his sister Blessing and mother could barely hold their emotions, as their experience en-route to Europe, through the deadly sahahra desert, showed desperation and a quest for survival.

Narrating their ordeal to this writer, Mrs Grace Eromosele a mother of seven, told tales of their journey which included being poisioned, sold into slavery and finally imprisoned in Libya. 

photo:Mrs Grace Eromosele narrating her story. Photo by EGHOSA ADEZI
Grace Eromosele  originally left Nigeria with her three youngest children, Emmanuel, Blessing and their youngest sibling who was only 2 years old, with the intent to make it big in Europe, but pathetically came back with two of her children, losing the youngest to the ferocious journey.

She told the writer that she and her children left Nigeria with a woman named Bisi, who they met in Kano city, Nigeria, that Bisi was the one with the contacts in Libya to aid them board a make-shift baloon boat to cross the mediterranean sea into Europe. 

Grace said the journey was going fine, until an unfortunate encounter with some unknown persons they met in Agadez,Niger Republic.

“They held us hostage for more than three (3) days and and beat us badly. On the first night we were there, they poisioned the food they gave us.

“We were kept in a very dark room, with Bisi and my children. we were all very scared. I slowly started noticing signs of fever on my children, immediately i fed them the Okro (vegetable) soup i prepared from Nigeria” 

At this point, Grace eyes couldn’t hold it any longer, as the very moments she lost her youngest child, came back to hurt her all over again. 

“My youngest child couldnt make it, he died that night”, she said soberly.

However the adventurous journey could not be hindred by the death of the little child, as Grace, her surviving two children and Bisi were only able  to continue their journey after their captors in Agadez left them for dead, when the fever grew worse, although rescue eventually came their way after a good samaritan took them to a nearby hospital for medical treatments.

After long travels, Grace explained that they eventually found themselves in Libya, but things took from bad to  worse when the contact their travel companion (Bisi) had in the North African nation  to help them book a spot in the risky baloon boat sold them as slaves to a Gambian who resided in Libya.

Grace recounted countless times she had to call her aged mother in Delta State, Nigeria to send money at gun point, as her captors threathened to kill her and her childrten, if their demands weren’t met.

photo: Grace, Emmanuel and Blessing all smiles while recounting their horrible experience enroute to the North African Nation. Photo by EGHOSA ADEZI.
According to her, “my mother sent money to my diffrent captors as they threathened to kill me. my mother paid more than 500k to them, still yet we were not released. most of the other girls were used as prostitutes to make money for them, but they couldn’t use me as a prostitute becauase they said i was  too old”

The story of Grace Eromosele and her brave children grew more pathetic, as they eventually joined thousands of Nigerians in jail for commiting no crime, other than being in the country illegally.

In prison the mother and her children passed through horrible treatments, as they were barely fed and several beaten by prison officials.

“They didn’t give us good food. In the morning they will give us OMZA (a Libyan bread), while afternoon and night we were fed telephone macaroni (a particular type of noodles) soaked with water”, lamented Blessing Eromosele.

The mother and her two kids spent eight months in prison, but were released after joint intervention from the Nigerian Government and the United Nations striking a deal to send all illegal immigrants in the trouled North African nation back home.

Now back home, safe and happy, Grace Eromosele described their rescue as a divine intervention, revealing that at a point all hopes were lost and they had already given up on ever regaining their freedom.

She further added that she looked forward in getting engage into positive and productive ventures to give her children a sound and quality education, stressing that the Goverment should engage them (Returnees) on skill aquisition programmes, in a view to aid them impact to the country.

photo: Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State shares an emotional time with a returnee at their welcoming point in Benin city, the State capital. Photo by ONLINE PRESS
Investigations revealed that some of the trips are shrouded in secrecy with the victim, the sponsor and at times the family member being the persons to be aware of the plans.

It was gathered that the picture of greener pastures is what is usually painted before the victims using those who are belived to be sucessful in terms cash repatriation and structures built by them.

This ugly situation have also made economic life expensive in Benin City, as there are many jobless young persons whose ultimate aim is to travel abroad and therefore do not bother being equipped for work, but wait for their opportunity to also travel.

Before these travels especially for the females, oaths of secrecy and loyalty to meet financial obligations and sacrifices are made in notable rivers like Ikpoba river along Ikpoba slope, Upper Mission, Okhoror, Ogba River and other streams.

Despite the inhuman stories and deaths, as has been told by hundreds of returnees who are being deported from Libya to Edo State, most of whom are women and children, young persons are still desperate to travel abroad.

​EDO LGA: Obaseki Notifies Party Leaders, Unveils Ambitions 

By Eben Enasco Kingsley

As the date for the Local government Chairmanship election draw closer, a frontliner of the ruling party in Edo State, All progressive Congress,APC, Dr Tom Obaseki, has disclosed to party leaders and supporters in the state of his desires to Contest the sole ticket of the  chairmanship seat of the Oredo local government council, billed for February 2018.

Dr Obaseki who made the disclosure at the party’s ward 4 secretariat recently in Benin City,  explained that the need to reposition and transform the council was the motivational factor.

He added that, he was in it to consolidate his concerted burning desires to move the state capital to admirable position.

“My driving force is the desire to service. It is not a desire that was established today but a desire that was incubated for a long time now. So it’s  the right time to seat down and put it to work”, he stated.

Sorting further, Obaseki said he was resolute in his decisions to veer for the keenly contestable position and  hopeful of getting the sole mandate. 

He however, appealed to the party fateful  for their unalloyed support to clinch the seat. 

It would be recalled that the electoral umpire had fixed early February, 2018 for the local government election in the State.

Caption; Dr Tom Obaseki exchanges pleasantries with a well wisher at his recent Birthday celebration in Benin.