The incident of domestic violence visited on Mrs Tina Okhiria of Ekae community by her husband, Okhiria, in the New Etete area, GRA, Benin, Edo State, is to say the least most despicable and a path that should never be treaded by any right-thinking man, a husband especially.
On June 3, 2023, Mr and Mrs Okhiria reportedly engaged in an argument over food. Rather than talk it out, as two adults who consented to living together as a husband and wife should do, the former chose violence. He was said to have rushed into the room and brought out a gun and fired in the direction of his wife, hitting her left arm. It was so bad that the hand had to be amputated in a hospital.
While confirming the incident, the Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, said, “On June 3, the police received a complaint from some elders of the Ekae community with Joanki Okhiria, aged nine, that on the same day, Joanki Okhiria’s father argued with his wife, Tina Okhiria. In the process, Okhiria shot Tina with his double barrel gun on the left hand and the victim was taken to hospital for treatment. The affected hand has been amputated.”
The suspect has since been arrested and will soon be charged to court after investigation by the police.
We urge the police to charge him to court as soon as the investigation is concluded. He should be made to face the full wrath of the law so as to serve as a deterrent to other men – or women – who cannot control their anger, or who cannot put on a thinking faculty when it is most desirable.
While sympathising with Mrs Okhiria with the children for such a life-changing incident that befell her, and wishing for her quick recovery, we demand that justice must be served.
Though some people will say Mrs Okhiria was lucky to have survived this kind of recurring domestic violence, losing a limb is no less a misfortune. She will live to remember this unfortunate incident for the remaining part of her life.
We call on all well-meaning Nigerians to rally round and support this woman to be able to cope with this new way of life. We welcome and commend the step taken by the Edo State First Lady, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, to assist the woman.
“Mrs Okhiria will receive assistance in obtaining a prosthetic arm to alleviate the loss she has suffered,” the first lady had said.
Governments at the local, state and federal levels must work together to address the rising instances of domestic violence. Many have been sent to early graves by their husbands or wives in various parts of the country. Cases that readily come to mind include those of Mrs Kpadoo of Tse-Agberagba, Konshisha LGA of Benue State, who was killed by her husband and Mrs Hamsatu of Lande town, Gombi LGA of Adamawa State, who was killed by her husband over an argument. Many horror stories abound in Nigeria today.
According to the former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, as of November 22, 2022, Nigeria had recorded about 11,053 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) going by the information available from the National Situation Room and Data Dashboard. She said this during the 59th edition of the Ministerial Media Briefing organised by the then Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Fatal cases numbered at 401, 592 are considered closed, while open cases are 3,507.
The ex-minister, who said then that so far only 33 persons had been convicted, described the development as “unacceptable” and called on the government at all levels to act fast to end violence against women and girls in the country.
A victim of an abusive marriage, Grace Ityosaa, said people in such situations who refuse to walk away risk being killed.
“A woman should not wait till it gets to a point when she is reporting to people because the next blow could take her life. I am talking today not because I am better than those who have died; I am just lucky, and probably, God allowed me to be able to talk to other women,” she said.
With the escalation of these abuses against women, we call for more awareness and enlightenment so as to curb this growing monster against women. The relevant authorities like the National Orientation Agency could do more on this by sponsoring jingles on radio and television in order to enlighten those concerned on the need to know that women too have rights – human rights which are fully enshrined in our constitution and the need to protect those rights of theirs. The civil societies too should join in this effort.
Our society must rise against this trend, which is highly condemnable. We all must understand that women are partners; not objects that should be subjects of abuse. We, therefore, call for social sanctions against all those who perpetrate these abuses in addition to legal prosecution as a way of reducing it to the barest minimum or putting an end to it.