Society thinks she has to endure, even unto death.
I did not want to start this year whinning about Violence Against Women (VAW) but I’m so annoyed right now.
Between yesterday and today, I’ve read two stories from wives who were almost battered to death by their husbands respectively. My heart bleeds. My heart bleeds that a human being would want to hurt another who is obviously not as strong as he is and for what reason?
Both women have been enduring these violence for many years, both have kids with these so called husbands. Which is probably why they stayed on, hoping that they would change, but instead they get worse. Worse to the point that one locked his wife up in a room for two days after beating her to stupor, so that she cannot get outside help. He confiscated her phone too. I’m so spitting mad, Kai!
Now, when both issues came up for discussion, women, WOMEN for goodness sakes, were encouraging these ladies to pray and endure! Duhh. One suggested we hear from both sides before we can judge. What is there to judge abeg? Who is even talking of judging right now? What could a man who intentionally set out to murder his wife tell us? He did not stop at hitting her with matchetes and sticks but had to isolate her to await her death. What could possibly justify that behaviour?
These women have been married for like ten years each, four and three kids respectively. The battering did not start last week or last month. It has been going on for as long as they were in that marriage. Why stay? For the sake of your kids? For fear that society will see you as a failure or a wayward woman? Or because you have no family to run to? One of these ladies said that the first time she ran to her father’s house with her kids, that her dad sent her back on the grounds that he has received bride price and drank wine on her head. Therefore he cannot harbour them. What is that?
Maybe I’m feeling this way because I am single. Maybe I have no right to advice anyone on this issue, but I’m gonna say my mind anyway.
- PLEASE ladies, this is your life, it has no duplicate and you have the power, in fact, you are mandated by God to protect it. I do not think God will shake your hands if you die at the hands of a husband. Protect your life!
- Seek outside help from reputable Non Governmental Organisations, from the judiciary and from the law enforcement agencies if you are a victim, before it is too late .
- It is best to get yourself empowered no matter how little so that if push gets to shove, you can pick up your life and sojourn on your own.
- There is no worthwhile reason to stay on in an abusive relationship because if you die, people will find some other topic to gossip about. They will pity you at death and what use is that? Besides, if you die or become vegetable, what do you think will happen to your children?
- As for those on lookers that believe the victims should stay on in the marriage just because it is supposed to be for better for worse contract, I salute una! While you encourage her to endure and pray, be a little more realistic. That man is not going to change. He will make promises, he will beg and plead, he is still same inside.
Sisters please take control of your lives and your children. If we do not take care of ourselves, who will? NOBODY!
STAND UP AGAINST
For more on one of the cases, visit
The black gold, alias crude oil, the savior of the Nigerian economy has over the years, enriched the multinational oil companies and the government while further impoverishing the land owners. Oil is being drilled in large quantities from the region, money is made in quantum from the petroleum products, companies and government smile to the banks, the host communities get poorer even as their environment is polluted and degraded.
A trip round the Niger Delta region which is the oil producing area in Nigeria shows a part of the country richest in natural resources yet poorest in every other way. The marginalization is so acute that one is shocked into anger and disappointment. The confounding thing is that these multinational companies are rich enough to improve the lives of their hosts effortlessly, considering the amount of profit they make from the oil in the land. So why is it such an uphill task to give these people jobs, healthier environment, potable water, electricity, good roads, hospitals and other forms of amenities and compensation for their land being degraded?
Writing from my first experience in the region as a Youth corps member in 2009 in Bayelsa state, to my recent 2016 experience in Ogboinbiri community of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of same Bayelsa state, it was shocking to note that the situation, rather than improve seems to have worsened in this seven year interval.
Oil exploration has been going on in Ogboinbiri since 1986 with Agip being the dominant oil company operating in the community.
Taking a trip through this community, there are many striking factors that left me wondering what is wrong with the whole system. The poverty level is appalling to say the least. Farming and fishing used to be the major source of livelihood for these indigenes. But with the advent of oil exploration came the problem of pollution and degradation of the rivers and farmlands. They are forced to seek alternative means of survival. The aquatic life is non-existent, the soil infertility is at stake as a result of the oil spillages, gas flaring and other forms of pollution.
In the face of this prevailing situation, the oil companies hardly employ members of the host community. My chat with the Chairman of the Ogboinbiri Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr. Eseimokumo Ben-Okosughe, revealed that Nigerian Agip Oil Company has only three permanent staff of Ogboinbiri origin in their employ. While they have less than ten working as contract staff in Agip. They (Agip) recently agreed to employ four more contract staff from the community. These four have undergone the necessary tests and have been offered the employment. Yet, even as I write this, they are yet to resume duties at the Company, with the Company giving one excuse after another. The companies initially based their not employing natives on illiteracy, so the youths started going to school and began acquiring certificates. But are they getting the promised jobs? NO! Again, this baffles me. Could it be that none of these graduates are eligible? None is intelligent enough?
This takes us to the issue of education. Ogboinbiri community has one secondary school built years ago by Agip which is now dilapidated and no longer fit to function as a 21st Century secondary school. It has no library or laboratory whatsoever. How can it boast of those when it has no doors and windows? On the other hand, the scholarship scheme from Agip this year took care of twenty one secondary school students for the year, the highest figure so far as against the usual four or five students per anum.
In the whole of Ogboinbiri community, there is only one dilapidated and abandoned health center.
Since the inception of this present regime of the Community Development Committee, according to the Chairman, the Committee has been soliciting with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company to rehabilitate this health center. This effort is yet to bear any tangible fruit, it has been promises and promises and promises. After several futile attempts at getting the Company to renovate the health center, the Community resorted to locking up the Agip wellhead, but so far, the renovation of the health facility remains a mirage. I was informed that it is the traditional birth attendants that deliver babies and carry out other health related duties in the community when there is an a;ready existing health center waiting just to be renovated and refurbished.
In the case of a health emergency, the only option is to get to the state capital which takes about two hours using a speed boat. And I began to wonder if these people are living in the Stone Age or the jet age. I shudder to imagine what the pregnant women pass through during delivery.
The impacts of oil exploration on the environment seem to be the most disturbing problem facing the Niger Delta region. I remember the first time I came in contact with water body polluted by oil spill in 2009. It was at our NYSC orientation camp in Kaiama. We were shocked to discover films of oil atop the water we fetched in the buckets and upon enquiry; we were informed that the water was polluted by oil spill. The rivers in the Niger Delta are polluted by oil spills, and these rivers serve as the main source of water for the communities. They drink, cook, wash and bathe from same river which often times double as incinerators and toilets. These oil spills occur as often as four to five times yearly. The last one that occurred in Ogboinbiri in June 2016 is yet to be cleaned up by the oil company. The result is that flood washes the spills via the creeks and canals into the same river that the people consume.
The picture below depicts the typical Ogboinbiri community during rainy season. The inhabitants and visitors alike must paddle canoes to get from the road to their destinations, sometimes using makeshift wooden bridges to get inside their homes.
The floods are this bad due to the activities of the oil companies.
The gas flare, despite all the hullabaloo against it still goes on, in fact in Ogboinbiri, it occurs just across the community, about 120 meters away from the people.
As a result of the gas flaring, there is the problem of acidic rains, death, diseases and many other hazards. Recently, there have been increased cases of cancer, constant respiratory problems, high fever, convulsion, anemia (especially among children of 1-10 years), and etcetera. Yet the government and the multinational companies do not yet see the need to act. What will be the fate of these communities in the next ten to twenty years if nothing is done to salvage the environment?
There was an MOU signed by both the Community and the oil Company but it expired in 2012 and since then, according to Mr.Ben-Okosughe, there has been no new one. All efforts to get the Company to sign new one has been abortive. Thus, there has been no new project undertaken by Agip in Ogboinbiri since 2012. Yet oil exploration has been going. Too many promises and pledges all still in the pipeline, I just hope they will not all be pipe dreams.
I further questioned the C.D.C Chairman on the efforts of the Government to alleviate the Community’s suffering or to get the oil companies to do their own bit of Corporate Social Responsibility to the community. I was informed that the Government is well aware of their plight but chose to ignore it. The recent peace talk between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Leaders would be a welcome development if only it would be backed by positive actions.
There has been too many avoidable agitations and crisis in the Niger Delta region for as long as we can remember. I have no doubt in my mind that this scenario will continue to play out unless the multinational oil companies and the Government do what is right by these people. It feels like robbing Peter to pay Paul if you ask me and no Peter will be happy to be marginalized so. The oil revenue accruing from the abundant natural resources in this region is being used to enrich and develop other regions and peoples. It feels just very unfair and inhuman. I mean, how difficult can it be to just give these oil producing communities basic amenities, employment, safer environment and better opportunities in compensation for lifting their oil and destroying their ecosystem? I AM BAFFLED!
Are you even aware of how bad the CHANGE is Dear Mr. President?
Remember that during your campaign you promised to deliver to us a better Nigeria, a Nigeria flowing with milk, honey, peace and prosperity? You promised us CHANGE Mr. President and so, gullible and eager Nigerians voted for you, chanting SAI BABA! SAI CHANGE! Thinking you stand for all the things we yearn for.
Dear Mr. President, I am sure you will feel you have accomplished some things in your fourteen months in office, which might probably be true. What with the selective fight against corruption, your transparency moves, the fight against boko haram even as the Chibok girls are yet to be returned home, and so on and so forth.
Now, here are the CHANGES I see every day on Nigerian streets and villages Dear Mr. President – I see HUNGER AND STARVATION. Mr. President, your children are dying of malnutrition. Maybe a visit to a couple of villages can give you a shove in the right direction and open your eyes to the fact that the rate of hunger in the land has become an emergency health issue. I am writing this as one who has seen these sufferings first hand, but there is really very little I can do compared to what you, Dear President can do. I was told by those that witnessed this level of malnutrition during the Nigerian Civil war that what is happening now is beginning to be like what was experienced during the war.
According to UNICEF, over 2.5 million Nigerian children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. However, no amount of quoting figures can propel you to action faster than a firsthand experience.
The direct effect of malnutrition is disease. Maybe a tour of ‘chemist shops’, local health centers, maternity homes and hospitals can make you sit up faster Dear Mr. President? The number of children severely ill from malnutrition is simply overwhelming. They are malnourished and thus have little or no resistance against diseases. Malaria kills them faster because they cannot fight it with their low immunity and lack of money. From the clinic where I am, the picture is disheartening. Children of various ages come in looking pale, anemic and hungry. The parents delay coming to the clinic till the worst moment but would rather use local herbs or visit quacks, guess why? Even after treatment, recovery is delayed for too long and sometimes there is relapse because there is no proper nutrition to sustain them. Anemia, kwashiorkor and the likes are staring us in the face.
The cost of living has gone so high Dear Mr. President, that parents cannot feed their children properly. When you are able to buy the food, the cost of kerosene suggests to you that you might want to try eating the food raw. Basically, people in the rural areas rely on kerosene and firewood for cooking and for the fact that we are in the rainy season, kerosene becomes the ultimate for those that can afford a kerosene stove and a liter of kerosene sells for #250. Do the Mathematics.
The worst thing that can happen to a mother is to watch her child die when mere #2000 in her purse would have saved that child’s life. And in case you think these poor folks are lazy, I will inform you that just one of them works harder than your entire House of Assembly members put together in a given day. They till the lands with their hands, nurture it, all without Government subsidy. They undertake different forms of hard labour that push them to early graves just to eke out a living, yet it hardly provides three-square meals for their families. Some of them have brothers and aunties that used to assist from the cities, but they have been sacked due to the austerity measures in the land.
Dear Mr. President, if the Nigerian masses cannot feel any positive impact of your administration, if all they see and feel are anger, depression, hunger, starvation, diseases, death, crimes, unemployment, anarchy, chaos and terrorism, then permit me to say Mr. President that your administration is woefully failing Nigerians. If you tell us that more refineries are now functional, yet we cannot afford the petroleum products, you tell us that looted funds are being recovered, that so and so country gave you so and so billion dollars, yet Nigeria is more broke than ever before, that is bullshit if you ask me. If you say you are subsidizing agriculture, yet the local farmer cannot even buy fertilizer, that you are giving us laudable economic policies still we cannot afford to buy ordinary fish from the market, what do you call that Sir? CHANGE?
This is an SOS to the international community and whoever cares.
Ese was only thirteen when she was abducted in August 2015 from her mother’s shop by Yinusa, her mother’s customer in Bayelsa state. He took her to Kano where he converted her to Islam and married her.
You can read the full story here so you can better grasp the details of the horrific incident.
Now read this part,
Responding to the incident, the Police Public
Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Police
Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said on Thursday
that it was a case of elopement, and not
Butswat, who spoke in a telephone interview, said
based on their findings, the boy in question
(Yinusa) told the police that he and Ese had been
But when reminded that Ese was only 14 years
old, and 13 when she was abducted, Butswat said
the police were of the position that the issue of
marriage did not arise in the matter.
Can you beat that?
The Emir of Kano where the Ese was taken to is the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Sanusi Lamido, a widely read and intelligent gentleman. Makes me wonder why he allows this happen right in his palace.
The Inspector General of police said they are awaiting the return of tje Emir from the holy land before the girl can be released. It gets better right?
It may interest you to note that the abductor has not even been apprehended by the police.
About two years ago, this type of atrocity was reported in a radio programme tagged hembelembe in Abuja. The parents of the girl reported to the producer of the programme who followed up the matter and met exactly the same obstacle as Ese’s parents. The Emir told them that the girl had converted willingly to Islam and so has no business with her parents.
If little Ese could not be released to her poor parents,why are we dreaming of rescuing the Chibok girls?
Since the Nigerian state has failed in rescuing Ese, since our laws function at will, since the Nigerian Constitution is irrelevant in certain matters, since certain individuals are above the law and the state, and since anybody can hide under the cloak of religion and perpetuate evil, I pledge the assistance of the internatoonal community.
THIS IS AN SOS FOR #FREEESE
You can join the #FreeEse campaign on twitter, shout it over the traditional and social media until justice is wrought!