Tuesday, 12 April 2016 23:52

Aren't Women Still Considered Property In Nigerian Society?

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The purpose of the instant essay is to argue that the killings of women in Nigerian society will continue so long as women are considered to be property. Charles Adegbite from Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, filed a report on July 3, 2013. The report stated that 45-year-old Daramola, a motorcycle repairer and farmer, beat his wife , Iyalo Daramola, a mother of three children to death and buried her after the incident, because she requested for food money and the man said he had no money. Unfortunately,  while he was talking, the sum of N38,000 ($125) allegedly fell from his pocket.

As an argument escalated, wife attempted to walk away, but Daramola pursued his wife with a piece of wood and beat her until she fell down dead. That Nigerian women are systematically abused and sometimes suffer deaths at the hands of their husbands, who think of nothing in the world other than money, is not a secret. For one thing, in the Nigerian society, women are considered to be chattel or slave to be used and discarded as a man deems appropriate. Chattel is a movable personal property, or any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to the land.  Land is more valuable than women in Nigerian society, and that's why males inherit terra firma/earth , to the exclusion of  the women. Why does the woman's property belong to her husband? It is because women are property meant for the pleasure of men. Pieces of property generated by a property are considered property belonging to the original property owner .

To give you an illustration, if I bought a fowl from Ogbete market and slaughtered it for pepper soul, what is your business?  Isn't the damned chicken my property and why can't I have my pepper soup in peace? Why do Nigerians pay a dowry or bride price for a wife? If you have not heard of bride prices and you want to swear that your father or your uncle  took his wife without paying some money to his wife's relatives, then there is no bigger liar than you, your uncle, your father or all of you, and you  ought to get out of my face and go jump into River Niger. As the time  draws nigh for the arrival of dowry, come and watch old Papa and Mama perch up like famished pussy cats on stretchers  for two reasons: grab the money bag and banish extra mouth from food table. They have just sold a slave to a man to so do a he chooses.

We are not going to discuss the appropriateness of the punishment a man doles out to the wife he bought or the things the Nigerian government does to contribute to frustration that leads men to kill their wives. These topics are for later essays. Go tell cows that a dowry is for the purpose of showing appreciation to parents for raising a daughter. Isn't that a part of parental duties?  The point is that Nigerian men kill their wife more frequently over insignificant events than one realizes. Should I tell  a story of one Nigerian husband who went to the market to pour a quantity of petrol on his wife and set her afire? She made a failed business transaction resulting in losses rather than profits. To digress a little bit just to make the "tory" more disgusting, in India where wives bring dowry to the man rather the other way around, wife burning has reached an epidemic proportion. A wife who brings inadequate bride price to the husband's family runs the risk of dying in flames orchestrated by future mother-in-law and prospective husband's siblings.

It is not unusual for a  Nigerian man to send a wife he bought for a bride price totaling  less than N30,000 ($99) back to her father's house in the village and to ask that his money be refunded in full. He does so even after the husband has used the woman for years and she has given birth to one or more children. I have seen many a Nigerian man arrogantly bluff: "The children are mine and they must go with me because 'na  Ala igbo, umu azi bu nke nwoke '" (children belong to the male in Igboland).

A story is told of a man and his wife who were in the process of filing for a public divorce and each was asked to take his/her personal stuff before the final separation. The public watched in amazement as the woman quietly took her frying pan, ite ofe (soup pots) and ikwe na odo  (mortar and pestle), abada (wrappers) , ichafusi  (head dress), iyori nti (earrings), and a few other adornments women beautify themselves with for the pleasure of men. When the time came for the man to take his personal assets, Chief Mazi Oga Big Man quickly and boisterously confiscated all that the wife had selected, and in the process, grabbed the woman's left hand, her children and the jigida (large beads)  under her wrapper. Then he announced to the applause of both male and female onlookers: "These are my inheritance."

CONCLUSION: The killings of woman will continue in Nigerian society so long as the women are considered to be "things."  Even educated Nigerian women, including lawyers, doctor, and engineers would rather be bought in the open dowry market than remain at home as spinsters/unattached old maids.

COPYRIGHTED JULY 4, 2013 @ 10:43AM

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.