BY Guest Writer
BY ZAYD IBN ISAH
The death of Osinachi Nwachukwu cut many Nigerians, especially Christians to the quick. Osinachi Nwachukwu was a celebrated gospel singer and songwriter. She featured on the 2017 gospel song, ‘Ekwueme’. That song thrust her into the limelight with 71 million views on YouTube.
The news of her death was received with mixed feelings. She was reported to have died of throat cancer, after days on life support at an Abuja Hospital. Many of her fans believed the earlier report that she died of throat cancer until her colleague in the gospel music industry, Frank Edwards spilled the beans. It was not a case of letting the cat out of the bag. Because his statement on social media was ladened with anger and despair. He was determined to expose the man that tormented Osinachi to death.
According to Frank Edwards, Osinachi died from complications she suffered as a result of domestic violence. Reacting to the news of her sudden demise, Frank Edwards wrote on his verified Facebook account, ‘’So that unreasonable human being finally put off a shining light. I won’t say much now, I’ll let the former NDDC director [AUNTY Joy] who did everything possible to stop this from happening talk 1st, but it still happened. We tried to stop this’’, he lamented.
Frank Edwards’ statement took the lid off the cause of Osinachi’s death. Many Nigerians did not need a soothsayer to tell them who the ‘unreasonable human’ he referred to in his viral Facebook post was. Nigerians blamed and are still blaming her for choosing to stay in an abusive marriage instead of throwing in the towel and forge ahead with the vigor of the tiger. She had wherewithal as a celebrated gospel singer with huge fan base to cater for herself and her children, but she took the domestic violence in her stride. Her husband, Peter Nwachukwu is a Pastor with the Dunamis International Gospel Church, Abuja. One would expect a man of God [So-called] to be loving and caring. But Pastor Peter chooses to be violent at home while he preaches tolerance and the importance of peaceful co-existence from the Podium. He must be one of the advocates of ‘’do what I say, but don’t do what I do’’. He misplaced his priorities preaching the word of God in the Church instead of facing his real occupation as a Wrestler.
Osinachi Nwachukwu’s case reminds me of one of the best books I read last year, Ogadinma by Ukamaka Olisakwe. In Ukamaka Olisakwe’s Ogadinma, the Protagonist, Ogadinma was a victim of domestic violence. But, Ogadinma was wise enough to leave her abusive husband to avoid stories that touch much to her father and her aunt’s chagrin. She did not stay put to fulfil her marriage vow of for better and for worse like Osinachi.
They are a plethora of cases of domestic violence in Nigeria. Several women have been coming out to give account of their travails in the hands of their abusive husbands since Osinachi’s news broke. The stories are heartbreaking. Many matrimonial homes in Nigeria are like Boxing Rings. Most women don’t know their husbands have a side wrestling job until after marriage. They appear lovey-dovey during courtship only to show their true colors after they got married. They are instances where women receive the beating of their lives for standing up to their adulterous husbands. The traditional African society is not fair to women. We have come to lower the moral bar so low for men, that a heinous sin like adultery is not much of a problem for men as it is for women.
Women are advised to tolerate abusive and adulterous men, but the reverse is the case for men. There is something fundamentally wrong with this. It is utterly wrong on so many grounds, especially when the religiosity of our society should translate to a stronger collective sense of morality. Instead, our society and culture continue to thrive on abuse: leaders abuse the poor masses that voted them into office, men abuse the women they should love; women abuse domestic staff and children that they owe a duty of care. We need to end this culture of abuse. It is killing us.
As I wrote in my earlier article on sexual abuse and domestic violence in Ukamaka Olisakwe’s Ogadinma [Published in The Daily Reality on 30th January, 2022], the first step towards tackling domestic violence is by urging victims to leave abusive marriages, instead of advising them to persevere in the hope that their abusive husbands might turn over a new leaf. The marriage vow [‘’…To be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until DEATH do us part’’] is not for abusive husbands. Staying put with someone who does not love and cherish you is suicidal.
Victims of domestic abuse can seek redress in court if need be. However, this can only work if there are heavy consequences in the form of legal punishments for the abusive husbands. Parents should also stop forcing their daughters to stay with abusive husbands in the name of who will take of the children if you leave? Parents who condone spousal abuse on their children and advise them to stay put are accomplices. They make the war against domestic violence difficult to win or even sustain.
There should also be massive reforms in our administration of criminal justice system to ensure the effectiveness of the law against domestic violence and sexual abuse. And lastly, we should always encourage victims, especially women, to speak up, to be bold enough to tell their stories with truth and without fear.
Zayd Ibn Isah writes from the Office of Force PRO, Force Headquarters, Abuja. He is an ASP, a law graduate and a Creative Writer.
He is the author of ‘We Are All Guilty’, his first fictional work. Email: email@example.com. Phone number: 09134685772 [SMS only].