The wife of a Channels Television reporter, Ifeanyinwa Angbo called out her husband, Pius Angbo over an allegation of domestic violence in a viral video on Tuesday. The medical doctor in the said video alleged that her husband had repeatedly assaulted her during the six-year they have been married. The woman, whose face had scars from the supposed assault was later reconciled with her husband by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom. While addressing journalists, after the reconciliation meeting, she appealed to Nigerians and her family to forgive her husband while she commended the governor for the counsel. Some Nigerians express their opinions over the incident which coincided with the 16-day activism against gender-based violence and the involvement of the Benue state governor.
Bose Ironsi, Executive Director of women’s rights and health project (WRAPH), Lagos
Ifeayinwa should seek support to prevent future occurrences and heal up. She is in an abusive relationship and she needs help. Forget the emergency reconciliation by the governor; the families should know better that they are dealing with a criminal case. She is not in a good state of mind to know the decisions she has been coerced to accept. Nigerians should help her to seek redress but she has to be ready for it mentally and physically.
Until the root cause of the conflict is handled, there will be no total healing. What has happened so far is societal pressure. Many of the cases involving women who reported their husbands for the first time for threatening behaviour or abuse often end up with their husbands released without penalty, punishment, or compensation to the woman.
Damulak Grace, journalist, 40, Jos
Benue State has a law against gender-based violence so the governor should have insisted Pius Angbo was prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others not giving him a pat on the back, as it seemed.
The governor should have referred the case to the ministry responsible for such matters (women affairs and social justice). If he had done that he would have understood such matters take time as the couple needs counselling and therapy, not premature reconciliation.
I hope the governor will accept responsibility if anything bad happens to either of the couple because abusive relationships never end well and in this case, there are children involved whose mental, psychological, and emotional health should have been considered before the premature reconciliation. If the governor was busy making and implementing policies that would grow and develop the state, he would not have had the time to get involved in such issue, but direct it to the appropriate authority.
John Fem Adi, media practitioner, 51, Kaduna
What the governor did as good as a father by reconciling the couple even though the husband’s behaviour is condemnable. Whether the wife is arrogant or not, no responsible man will assault his wife. I condemn it. It is unacceptable especially for a journalist, who is supposed to be a role model. But my religion teaches me to forgive. Let the wife forgive and the husband should apologise. So the best thing the governor did was to bring religious concepts for them to forgive themselves which they did before him and assured them that he will guide them as a father.
Rasaq Abiola, legal practitioner, Lagos
Well, I am not in support of domestic violence or an abusive marriage but if both parties have agreed to reconcile their differences in any way, the ball is totally in their court. From a legal point of view, should there be a reoccurrence of such, the wife can file for the dissolution of the marriage on the ground of domestic violence and also seek custody of her children (if any) if she so wills. But, I would not advise any woman or man who has been domestically abused for several years in whatsoever form to continue with such an abusive marriage because the end results may be fatal.
Mrs Rita Emakpor, 49, health and wellness therapist, Lagos
I do not think she should have reconciled and returned to her husband. There is no way that man would have changed overnight. They did not go for counselling, family therapy and the man did not go for any psychoanalysis, mental health check. It’s a psychological problem, deeper than what we see. I think they should stay apart for some time until the man is certified okay.
Was the man-made to regret his actions? Did the man receive treatment or therapy for anger management? The very next day without thinking of a long-term solution to forestall a repeat, they are thrown back together with the same issues.
Bridget Dakyes, Executive Director, Women and Girlchild Rescue and Development Initiative, 40, Jos
In this 16-day activism for the elimination of all forms of violence against women, we are advocating for the cessation of violence against women. This case is just one of many cases of violence against women in Nigeria. It is sad that cases of this nature are under-reported because so many women are still unable to speak out for fear of stigmatization and many other reasons which may be religious or cultural.
In this case in point, I think that in as much as forgiveness and reconciliation are important in marriage, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has no legal right to reconcile the couple.
I believe that there are legal sanctions for abuse and the husband should go through the punishment because a life is involved here. How do we believe that the man will not repeat the act sometime in the future? I went through the pictures of reconciliation on social media, I watch the video where she was reporting her husband’s inhuman treatment and I tell you she is not a happy woman. I suggest that the issue be handled legally with witnesses to help avert future occurrence.
I also call for a review of the Nigerian Constitution and Penal Code to state adequate punishment for perpetrators of crimes. And the enforcement of various bills passed that has to do with the elimination of all forms of violence against women. There is a need for more collaboration between the government and human rights organizations to create more awareness in our communities.
Zainab Tanimu, Kaduna
We cannot tell if the husband has a personal relationship with the state governor which was why he ran to the governor to intervene. Now that the governor has intervened, it means he has to be monitoring them to ensure that nothing bad happens to the woman. This is because what the husband did was unethical and wife-beating should not be encouraged. Moreover, the wife just gave birth through caesarean surgery and she said it was not his first time beating her, which means it has become a habit. Violence against women, we all know, is wrong even though there are nagging women.
Alfred Mangai, civil servant, 40, Jos
I think the governor aided and abetted crime. What happened to the woman is a clear case of gender-based violence and there are laws in Nigeria. Maybe the governor is ignorant of such laws or he deliberately chose to aid and abet this kind of crime. On the flipside, the governor may want to portray himself as a man of peace trying to show the human face of his administration and that of his first lady but you see this goes far beyond that. It is a crime, and the state needs to prosecute the man not even the woman should have a say as to how this case should be prosecuted. So my call is for civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, and the media to fight for the right of this woman so that she would not be forced to stay in a marriage that she has been violated for the past six years so that someone could massage his ego. This is not right.
Abdul’azeez Ahmed Kadir, broadcaster, Kaduna
Reconciliation is a welcome move religiously. The governor’s move is a good step. But the man needs to be punished to serve as a deterrent for others involved in such inhuman acts especially because he is a journalist, who is a watchdog of the society. Above all, the wife should be compensated for what she has suffered and endured.
Diora Daniel, 19, student, Kaduna
I think the governor’s involvement is quite fishy especially when there is a stipulated punishment to be meted out in such situations. There is definitely a reason why he reconciled them, which could be good, bad or to protect his state’s reputation. And his act of reconciliation even though it’s for goodwill in a way gives support for others doing the same to continue.