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LAGOS: RETURN OF FILTH IN THE MEGA CITY

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The Lagos State’s effort at re-engineering waste to make the city clean in the face of rapid urbanisation appears to have backfired as garbage heaps now take over the metropolis, reports ISIOMA MADIKE

 

Grace Ogwuche lives in Alapere, Ketu. He told Saturday Telegraph that the heaps of refuse and stench that engulf the air every morning as residents of the area wake up on a daily basis is terrible. She kept wondering the people that generate the wastes overnight. She pleaded that the state government should do something about it to avert outbreak of epidemic within the neighbourhood.

However, Ogwuche is not the only one that has expressed shock at the rate mounds of filth have resurfaced in the Lagos metropolis of late. Anthony Chinyenwa, who resides at Wharf area in Apapa, also said that refuse dumps had completely taken over some sections of the road.

He said that the situation has worsened in the last few months since the Public-Private- Partnership (PSP) operators stopped working ahead of the takeoff of the state’s new model of refuse disposal. In like manner, Mrs. Elizabeth Nwaka, another resident of Iyana Ipaja, equally said that her locality’s environment had not been this dirty since he moved into the area four years ago. At Ojuelegba, heaps of refuse dumped along the busy and popular Tejuoso Road is equally jostling for space with humans. Oshodi is not spared in this seeming descent into filth.

A mountain of garbage and its foul odour often force some commuters back into moving buses to avoid contracting diseases. Stretching almost the entire length of the rail track are piles of trash with an awful stench. Those dumped on the weeds also constitute a sore sight for inbound and outbound commuters going in and out of the Oshodi vicinity.

This may be the reason why many people now avoid the Oshodi axis. As the rubbish struggle for space with commuters in various parts of the city, commuters typically held their noses while shaking their heads in disgust. These bring unpleasant movement to many. Indeed, the gradual return of heaps of dirt in Lagos metropolis has become a source of worry to residents of the mega city.

Abule- Egba, Mushin and Ikorodu areas are not different as heaps of refuse have literally taken over the landscape. While some of the dirt littered the ground, creating an unpleasant sight, other scenes of mountainous refuse, beaten by rain in the various parts of the state, are causing an irritation to the public and putting residents at the risk of preventable diseases.

Some residents of Ikotun area in Alimosho Local Government have also bemoaned the failure of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to evacuate refuse from there. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), which monitored the community, there were several heaps of refuse in many areas of the community. It also observed that offensive stench was oozing out from the dumps. Many passers-by and residents close to the dumps usually cover their nostrils so as not to inhale the odour.

Some of them who spoke to NAN urged LAWMA to come and clear the waste, saying it could lead to an outbreak of communicable diseases like cholera. A retired nurse, who lives on Ajewole Street, said that the dirty environment could endanger lives if nothing was done as soon as possible. She said: “It is so disturbing; everywhere is filled with heaps of refuse.

The waste residents will generate during the coming festivities will, awkwardly add to the mounting heaps, thus increasing the degree of the stench and polluting the environment the more. If care is not taken, there will be an outbreak of cholera and other airborne diseases in the area.”

A food vendor on Rasak Tijani Street also noted that the absence of the officials of the LAWMA had messed-up the street and the community in general. “We have never had it so bad like this in the past; for some weeks now, no LAWMA officials had visited this area to clear the waste, and this had really made everywhere very dirty. “I have been extra careful by ensuring that my food is well covered and protected from being contaminated by flies.

I hope the LAWMA officials will come and remove the refuse as soon as possible,’’ she said. Eko, as Lagos is fondly called, could be as interesting as it is repulsive these days. It is fast becoming a slum that qualifies to be called a jungle. Houses in most suburbs are largely wooden shanties interspersed with dilapidated concrete buildings. And the streets and most neighbourhoods are jumbled in surging heaps of refuse and a mass of terribly stinking human waste. In most of the outskirts, nearly all the houses have lost touch with modernity. They are dilapidated and surrounded by stinking heaps of refuse.

Most of them are almost submerged by floodwater that constantly threatens to swallow the entire neighbourhood. In front of their rickety bungalows, mills a crowd, their faces forlorn. Lagos, to many, has become a classic example of a jungle city; dirty, thickly populated with life in the neighbourhood becoming rough by the day.

The city is surrounded by water, on whose shore it is located. Yet, there is none to drink. The well water in most of the houses is murky and smelly. One would almost vomit his intestine and stomach out if the water accidentally touches one’s mouth. Everywhere you turn, you see human faeces as well as floating animal carcasses that provide free meal for scavengers. Owing to dearth of potable water and poor sanitation in the mega city, residents continuously do battle with typhoid fever, cholera and other deadly water-borne diseases. “We lose children, even adults here regularly to typhoid and cholera,” Chinedu, a 45-year-old mechanic from Anambra State, said.

“We live on shit, cook, eat and sleep on dirt. The environment is not alright at all. It’s only the grace of God that is keeping us alive.” In virtually every corner of the city’s vicinity, heaps of refuse dumps, literally jostle for space with human beings. Yet, no one seems to bother about it. Empty cans, pockets of assorted remnant food, drinks, fast foods and disused household items, regu-larly assault the eyes.

Faeces wrapped up in newspapers are launched from a certain window scattering into a spatter mess and the “pure water” cellophanes, which have assumed a notorious identity, all piled the streets as though they are articles of ornament. Apart from fear of imminent outbreak of epidemic, drainages are filled to the brim with smelly murky waters, a situation which forces children to play anywhere they could find space.

Rainy seasons bring tears and sorrow also to most residents of Lagos. Whenever it rains, flood sweeps chaos and confusion into this ‘Centre of Excellence’. Anytime the rainy season is back and at its peak, it is usually bad news for most residents in Nigeria’s mega city. At junctions of feeder streets in most parts of the sprawling city are heaps of used water sachets and debris percolated by shallow floods that found inadequate avenue of normal flows blocking the canals and waterways. Some are overgrown with weeds; others filled with refuse heaps.

The roads, apart from being riddled with huge potholes and gullies, have been narrowed to single lanes due to the mammoth refuse congealed by rain water whose passage is inhibited by blocked drains. Whenever it rains, the flood sweeps the refuse to the middle of the road, making movement of any kind difficult. Allen Avenue, one of the major commercial centres, which is also close to Alausa, the seat of the state government, is fast losing its glamour too. The heaps of garbage at the Alade Market end of the road make the road impassable for cars and pedestrians.

They are, most times, forced to make a detour. The same scenario plays out in Ikeja Roundabout and Oba Akran Avenue areas of the mega city. On Agege Motor Road, the situation is also terrible. “The situation is pathetic,” said Idayat Balogun, a nurse in one of the private hospitals in the metropolis. According to her, the situation deteriorated when most of the local government areas decided to turn sites meant for refuse dump to shopping malls.

“Now, there is no place for the people to dump their refuse,” she added. Residents of Ejigbo, Bariga, Shomolu, Idimu, Ogba and the slums of Ijora Badiya are also groaning as refuse have taken over major roads in the areas. Even the highbrow Victoria Island is not spared by the mounting dirt. Dolphin, a sprawling estate for business and residential purposes, appears to be the worst hit in Ikoyi.

Obalende, the popular bus terminal on Lagos Island, and all the nearby streets such as Lewis, Igbosere and Hawley are currently struggling under filth also. This may be the reason why the itinerant cart pushers, whose trade was once banned by the Lagos State government, are back on the streets.

They relentlessly comb the streets to evacuate refuse for a fee. Many now see their services as the needed solution to the troubling garbage heaps in the metropolis. They were banned in 2010 and accused of being responsible for the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places. That was the time LAWMA had an arrangement with the PSP to help clean up the city.

Indeed, there has been a gradual return of garbage heaps in Lagos metropolis, lately. In spite of the massive infrastructural renewal the state government is embarking to change the city’s landscape, heaps of refuse on roadsides, bus-stops, markets and highways have remain a blot on its effort to remodel the city.

This is compounded by the state’s new waste management initiatives, primed at reengineering the challenge of waste to make the city clean in the face of rapid urbanisation. For a consultant psychiatrist and public health practitioner, Dr. Ogunnubi Peters, the mounting heaps of garbage is not only defacing the aesthetics of the state but also posing a potential health hazard to the citizenry. Rodents, he said, are vectors of the Lassa disease, which breed rapidly in refuse-infested and polluted environments. “The resurgence of refuse all over the place makes nonsense of the state government’s effort at beautifying the metropolis.

“A lot of canals are packed with empty plastics of water bottles and other rubbish and when there is dirt here and there, it will bring rodents and cockroaches that could also contribute to the issue of Lassa fever and other diseases. Most streets are littered with dirt which is a very good space for rats to feed. These rats find their ways into shops, warehouses and our different houses.

Many could also come down with other ailments associated with filth. And it’s like a chain in which it could trigger other sicknesses that may not be easily traced to dirt. This could make many to go for medical check-ups and mortality could set in. “We shouldn’t also forget the fact that some rural areas still drink from the stream water. Such water may have been polluted from another area and travel down the suburbs where it could cause serious health challenge.

The heaps of rubbish could also promote air pollution; we breathe it in and unknowingly take in some bacteria that could cause harm to the body system. In no time you see people being afflicted with different diseases. This gets worse during the rainy season as it would wash dirt into homes and block drainages. So, the state government should do something fast to arrest the ugly situation. It needs to be more proactive with environmental sanitation issues,” Peters said. Meanwhile, Saturday Telegraph efforts at getting a reaction from the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, were futile as calls and the subsequent text messages sent to his telephone line were neither picked, returned nor responded to.

However, the resurgence of waste, according to The Guardian newspaper report, has been attributed to the early hitches been experienced in the new waste management policy of the state government, encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI). The good news, the report said, is that the state government has assured residents that it will soon be a fading history. Under the CLI arrangement, apart from the 600 brand new compactors that will be used to collect waste, 900,000 electronically tracked bins will be provided in homes across the state, while wastes generated by the commercial sector will be handled by licensed private sector participants. In the meantime, efforts of the state at ensuring proper management of waste is said to have started yielding results with the commencement of work at the Visionscape’s Eco Park in Epe.

As one of the platforms designed to package the over 13,000 tonnes of waste daily generated in Lagos, said to be the largest in the world, the construction of West Africa’s premier landfill in Epe, is in tandem with the pace-setting nature of the megacity. It aggregates contemporary strategies of turning waste to wealth.

The landfill, which is said to be the most ambitious part of the CLI, will, according to information from the state government, save the city the horror, which current dumpsites in Olusosun, Igando and other areas constitute. An environmentalist, who does not want his name in print, said the closure of these dumpsites will enable the state to convert the eyesores to better uses.

For instance, the Olusosun site, he said, is being proposed as location for a golf course, which will enhance the aesthetics of the entrance to Lagos. The Epe Eco park, according to Visionscape, is designed to encapsulate all the facilities listed above and when operational in the next few weeks, will facilitate world class waste collection and management, waste water management, preserve the environment and contribute to the state power generation programme. According to Visionscape, modern equipment and machinery fortified with geographical information system (GIS) facilities are one the features of the Epe landfill.

The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, said retrofitting of the site to a world class standard was part of the new waste management policy of the state government initiated by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration. He stressed that the new initiative, which would be a clear departure from the old system of waste management, was geared towards engendering the protection of the health, social living standard of the people and the environment in general. “The Epe landfill is a modern site of first class engineering innovation, designed to meet modern day waste management, where what had hitherto characterised our operations will be eliminated. The location of the site, which is more than five kilometres to the main township of Epe, makes it more environmentally friendly,” he said.

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Investigation

LAND USE ACT: MEANSTO EXPLOIT HAPLESS PUBLIC

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Fettered with institutional failure, dearth of political will and inherent defects, the Land Use Act seems to have lost its salt by becoming an exploitative tool in the hand of state governors 40 years after. DA YO AYEYEMI reports.

 

When the Land Use Act was enacted in 1978, the intension was to remove bitter controversies that arose over title to land. It was specifically meant to assist the citizenry, irrespective of status, to realise the ambition and aspiration of owning land for housing provision within the country.

The intent, according to those in the know, was also to assist the government in the exercise of power or power to compulsorily acquire land for public purposes. However, 40 years after the enactment and operation of the Land Use Act (LUA), more Nigerians have been denied access to land, while over 17 million people are without roofs over their heads.

Some Nigerians, who shared their experiences on how LUA has denied them easy access to land for development, are calling for the repeal of the Act or its review and subsequent amendment. According to a Lagos-based developer, Sunday Afilaka, the Act has made the cost of land expensive unlike in the past, when one could buy a piece of land from either the community, an individual or from a company and register the title at the Land Registry.

“Once it is registered, it becomes a bankable document. The LUA has made land acquisition so expensive,” he said. He narrated how he acquired some hectares of land at Mowe-Ofada axis of Ogun State from family land owners and surveyed it for housing development. He was in the process of securing the Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O), he said, when the state government came out with a new policy that all land in the axis was under acquisition, asking developers to come forward to repurchase the land from government.

This singular policy and directive, he narrated, made him abandoned the estate’s project and opted for another location in Lekki, due to high cost of regularisation from the Ogun State Government.

“Up till today the project is still there, subscribers to our estate could not develop, while people’s money are tied down,” he said Also, some of the identified challenges before the enactment of LUA, Afilaka said were still much in operations, while land acquisitions among Nigerians for housing and development purposes have become an herculean task.

Taiwo Ogunbodede had a similar experience too. Just like Afilaka, when it became obvious that Ogun State Government, under former governor Gbenga Daniel, was bent on developers to repurchase the land, he abandoned the estate and moved to Lekki, Lagos, to start a new project. Ogunbodede noted that one of the biggest problems around the Land Use Act was the process of acquiring the C-of-O from a state governor or the President in the case of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, who exercises this power through the Minister of the FCT.

As a result of the sensitivity of the document, many other developers said it had given birth to high-level corruption in the ministry that processes the C-of-O. The process of acquiring the document, they said, had suffered both political and social abuse over the years. Saturday Telegraph gathered that in 2016, the Delta State Government reduced the cost of procuring the C-of-O from N425,000 to N200,000 per plot of land.

This is not limited to Delta State alone. Other state governments also see application of LUA as a means to exploit the hapless public. Despite various criticisms that have trailed the provisions of some sections of the land law in the last four decades by built environment experts, who have been calling for its review, successive state governors have held on to the law, using it as a tool to jack up their revenue.

In Lagos State for example, and despite the huge housing deficit of over four million, the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, only signed 5,172 C-of- O in the last three years of his administration. Yet, the state raked in N20 billion and N10 billion in land transaction in 2016 and 2017 respectively. This may have been the reason some professionals described the LUA as a clog in the wheel of progress of development in the country.

While some have called for its review and amendment, describing the law as “obnoxious”, others are seeking its total abrogation. It would be recalled that efforts to amend the LUA in the past hit the brick wall due to the fact that it was part of the Nigerian Constitution. Late President Umaru Yar’Adua was proactive in his attempt to amend/reform the Land Use Act but he was not successful.

He failed because he realised rather too late that the Act is part of Nigeria’s statute books. Similarly, Goodluck Jonathan, during his administration, inaugurated another Land Reform Committee but all his efforts did not yield the expected results as a direct result of the inherent bottlenecks involved in amending the constitution. Experts in Nigeria have repeatedly called for the Land Use Act to be expunged from the constitution to make its amendment more realistic and less cumbersome.

They have argued that there will be no meaningful growth in the real sector if land continues to be under the firm grips of state governors. According to former President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Dr. Bunmi Ajayi, the LUA should be removed from the constitution to give room for its amendment.

Ajayi stated that critical parts of the law that hampered business transactions should be looked into. He mentioned that such aspects that have to do with a governor’s consent, revocation of land and compensation, have to be amended.

He said: “The LUA did not request me to take Governor’s Consent before I bought my land. It is wrong for it to now ask me to take governor’s consent before I sell or transact business with the land. Also, in the aspect of Power of Revocation, this must be removed.

The law must clearly state your offence before revocation of your land. If the law says the governor can revoke my land and does not say what my offence is, this has made nonsense of my C-of-O.”

In one of the Annual Adekumle Kukoyi Memorial Lectures organised by the Nigerian Institution of Surveying, Chief Afe Babalola, simply described some of the provisions of the LUA as “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, while calling for its review and amendment.

Taking critical look at the performance of the Act in the last 40 years, while calling for its abrogation, an estate surveyor and Principal Partner at Ubosi Eleh & Co, Chudi Ubosi, said that LUA had failed in its objectives and made land ownership and title transfer even tougher than before. According to him, continuous numerous calls from many quarters to amend the Act with plausible arguments that it has apparently failed in its objectives was an indicator as to the success of the Act.

He noted that one of the sevenpoint agenda of Yar’Adua’s short-lived government was an amendment of the Land Use Act. Ubosi said: “It is worth showing how the Act has failed in its objectives and made land ownership and title transfer even tougher.

For starters, bitter controversies and conflicts still arise or exist over title to land; the Act has definitely not made it any easier for citizens to own land.” Ubosi said these provisions in section 21-22 of the Act have resulted in a plethora of issues relating to delay in transfer of property transactions, coupled with the confusing provision that the consent of the governor should be obtained before the transaction is consummated. “Firstly, the process of obtaining the governor’s consent is expensive.

“Many states have seen it primarily as a revenue generating activity and so the total cost of that exercise is sometimes as high as 15 per cent of the deemed value of the subject property. Further, even though there have been improvements to the process in some states, it still takes a long time to obtain the consent, which significantly delays the completion of land related transactions.”

He added that the requirement to seek the governor’s consent for mortgage transactions has proven to be an impediment in the introduction of fi-nancial tools such as mortgage backed securitisation.

This requires an element of certainty in terms of the rights to the underlying securities in the mortgages to be securitised. Citing a survey carried out in 2012, he stated that the second greatest challenge facing 22 per cent of Nigerians that wanted to invest in real estate was the difficulty in obtaining titles.

“This lack of understanding of the laws and procedures surrounding real estate and real estate transactions is borne primarily out of the poor workability of the Land Use Act,” he said. According to Ubosi, data from the World Banks Ease of Doing Business 2017 indicated that regarding property registration in Nigeria, it will take an average of 77 days to achieve. 59.7 days in sub-Saharan Africa and 22.4 days in high income Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. He added that registering properties in sub-Saharan Africa in general and Nigeria in particular was evidently tough as demonstrated by the report.

“At an average of 10.10 per cent, Nigeria is among sub-Saharan Africa countries with the highest cost of registration as a percentage of property value. The average in sub-Saharan Africa is 8.00 per cent and 4.20 per cent in high income OECD countries. “A quick scan of the report further reveals that property registration in some select countries – Nigeria ranked 182 out of 190 in 2016 and 182 in 2017, which shows there has been no appreciable improvement in the ease of registering properties in Africa’s most populous nation.”

Comparing Nigeria to other in terms of property registration, Ubosi said that in 2016, Kenya ranked 122 of 190, China 42, South Africa 100, Ghana 76, India 140, and Brazil 130. In 2017, he recalled that Kenya moved a step up to 121, China stayed at 42, South Africa went southwards to 105, Ghana came down to 77, India improved by two places to 138 and Brazil also improved by two places to 128. A cursory study of the data, he said, had indicated how much work needs to done to improve and make the regulatory framework conducive for registering property. “Yet, this is a country, based on United Nations data, has a housing deficit of over 17 million units.

To bridge this shortfall, 900,000 units must be added to the housing stock annually. But based on available data (National Bureau of Statistics) less than 100,000 are supplied,” he said. Corroborating the above speakers, another estate surveyor and Principal Partner, Kola Akomolede and Co. Chief Kola Akomolede, called on the National Assembly to take a serious look at the law and set in motion the machinery to carry out a review of the act. Besides, for easy amendment, he urged the lawmakers to remove the LUA from the constitution to make it amenable to review when the need arises.

Akomolede noted that since the promulgation of the decree, banks and other financial institutions have not been accepting bare land (no matter the size and value) as collateral for loans and advances, despite high price paid to purchase same.

He said: “This is as a result of the compensation clause which has nothing for the owner of bare land if C-of-O is revoked. This has been a source of serious problem for those who have land and will like to use it as collateral for loans either to develop the land or for other businesses.

“The value of the land can be greater than the value of the development on the land in most high end locations. It is therefore not right to ignore the value of the land and pay compensations only on the land. As private citizens, this is one more way that the Land Use Act is unfavourable towards the housing development in the country.”

Identified flaws

Section 15 of the Act provides that during the term of a Statutory Right of Occupancy, the holder shall have the sole right to and absolute possession of all the improvements on the land. Such right and possession, Ubosi stated, only related to improvements that the holder could not transfer, assign or mortgage without the prior consent of the governor “or would lose if in breach of terms and conditions of the C-of-O,” he said.

This provision, he noted, had clearly created a problem of security of title “because it is conventional in Nigeria to grant a C-of-O for a period of 99 years. There is nothing in the Act that prevents the governor from granting an interest of a lesser period. “Section 8 of the Act only enjoins the governor to grant a right of occupancy for a definite or fixed term.

Where the right covers a short term then it amounts to economic risk to embark on massive improvements because of the atmosphere of uncertainty induced by the Section 16,” Ubosi noted. He pointed out that the LUA has also failed to curtail the activities of land speculators as one of its objectives, but said that large tracts of undeveloped lands are still not under the control of the governors of the states.

Ubosi said that land speculators had been cashing in on this seeming lapse by holding down vast land out of use until such a time as it would be very profitable to dispose on the market – a practice that hampers development in diverse ways.

He said: “Ruling family members in many communities (popularly called omo Onile) who control large traditional land engage in land profiteering. They also create undue conflicts that result in costly land litigations and in many cases, physical clashes leading to deaths and sacking of villages.

This is the situation the Act was meant to curtail but has not helped in any way. The result is that the cost of land continues to rise astronomically and land speculation has become even rifer. “The fact that all land in the state is vested in the governor of the state makes it very easy for land and title revocation (Section 28) to be used as a political weapon not minding the investments on same or the adverse consequences of such a decision on the investment climate of the country, state, economy or financial sector.

“This singular power in Sections 1 and 28 of the Land Use Act has made many financial institutions wary of accepting real estate as a collateral asset in extending facilities to their customers.”

The true and committed resolution of these issues, the estate surveyor said, must start with amendments to the Land Use Act. The amount of compensation and method of calculation of same under the Act, he also said, had left a lot to be desired. “Section 29 (4) (a) allows for an amount equal to the rent paid to the government as well as cost of improvements to the land. This negates or ignores the fact that the allottee could have acquired the land from its original allottee at a huge cost on the open market.”

The objectives of the Land Use Act have turned out to be defective in many respects. The time for a review in tune with current realities is long overdue. The Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, that is muting National Stakeholders Dialogue on Land Reform later in the year, noted that Nigeria does not have, and has never had, a National Land Policy which should have set out the broad guidelines for land governance, land use and tenure arrangements, among others.

According to the committee, what was obtainable was a national land law, the Land Use Act, 1978, which was enacted as a military decree in 1978 to place all land in the country under state control and thus unify the land tenure system.

The committee said that the Land Use Act would clearly require advancement because of the absence of regulations necessary to deal with the issues of possessory rights, tenure security, assignment of rights, land registries, lease, devolution of interests and mortgages among other related issues.

“The Act is a federal law but it practically has no role for the Federal Government. Whereas it provided for the establishment of a Land Use Allocation Committee (LUAC) and a Land Allocation Advisory Committee (LAAC) as implementing organs in the states and local governments respectively, there is no central or national institutional arrangement for the monitoring, evaluation, research and provision of technical support and general policy guidance to the federating units on the implementation of the Act.”

The Act which was meant to provide solutions appears to have introduced new sets of problems, thus rendering the entire land governance system almost unworkable. Land Use Act as promulgated March 27, 1978 is an Act to vest all Land compromised in the territory of each state (except land vested in the federal government or its agencies) solely in the governor of the state.

They would hold such land in trust for the people and would henceforth be responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals’ resident in the state and to organisations for residential, agriculture, commercial and other purposes.

Similar powers will with respect to non-urban areas are conferred on local governments. Extracts from that provision state that “subject to the provisions of this Act, all land comprised in the territory of each state in the federation are hereby vested in the governor of that state and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

“The Land Use and Allocation Committee shall be presided over by such one of its members as may be designated by the governor and, subject to such directions as may be given in the regard by the governor, shall have power to regulate its proceedings.

“There shall also be established for each local government a body to be known as “the Land Allocation Advisory Committee” which shall consist of such persons as may be determined by the governor acting after consultation with the local government and shall have responsibility for advising the local government on any matter connected with the management of land to which paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above relates.

“Subject to such general conditions as may be specified in that behalf by the National Council of States, the governor may for the purposes of this Act by order published in the State Gazette designate the parts of the area of the territory of the State constituting land in an urban area.”

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Investigation

DEATH, NIGHTMARES: AGONY OF RESIDENTS SACKED BY FLOOD

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Rainy seasons bring tears and sorrow to most residents across the country. Whenever it rains, flood sweeps chaos and confusion into homes. EMMANUEL IFEANYI recently took a tour of Abia South Local Government Area and returned with nightmarish tales of a people in agony who are constantly swept away by the ravaging tidal wave

 

Ugwunna Ahuruonye Nwaogu is the son of late Chief Mathew Ahuruonye Nwaogu, one of the popular landlords in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State. For years, the younger Nwaogu watched helplessly as flood ravaged his late father’s assets located on three streets; Nwaogu, Mathew and Ahuruonye streets right in the heart of Aba South Local Government Area of Abia State.

For him, these parts of Aba might soon be documented as places where humans used to occupy as the current condition of the area is gradually making them uninhabitable for humans.

Without respite, he watched as flood shook the foundation of one of his father’s houses, bringing it to the ground. “Anytime I take a tour of the four streets and remember the lives and properties lost to flood, tears of sorrow fill my eyes, and my heart becomes heavy,” he noted.

Several landlords and tenants within the vicinity have made countless efforts for over three decades to draw the attention of government to their plight but the efforts have been fruitless.

Ugwunna said that many had died while hoping that the government would come to their rescue while others simply gave up and relocated from the communities.

Residents, who bravely stayed behind, managing to live and cope with the perennial flood, told Saturday Telegraph that they were sure of another flood-induced disaster as they look forward to the June and July rains with trepidation.

The residents alleged that their representatives in government never visited the area to ascertain the level of damage from flood. They point to uncompleted and improperly channelled government drainage systems as the major cause of the flooding and the residents are embittered that the same government, which over the years, wrongly channelled rain waters into their homes, left them to suffer without any aid.

They also grieved that their neighbours in Onyike, Jaja, Eastern and Eme streets, all within Abia South Local Government Area, compounded the problem by using the troubled area as deposit centre for their sewage, and other liquid wastes.

How it all started

Elder Patrick Eze is one of the oldest people in the area. He told Saturday Telegraph that what the area was suffering, was a repercussion of what the politicians in the ‘80s did. He said: “I have being residing here since 1980. I’m the landlord of 12 Ahuruonye Street.

This place was not that perfect as at then, but it was good and could have been better if not for what took place in the past. “Some years back, a certain politician from our neighbouring street supervised the blockade of government drainage because of his selfish reason.

Back then, he said that he didn’t want rain water to pass through some areas. This politician did it and since then, we have been suffering. That place is still blocked till date. He is a son of this community and his house is just over the rail.

I can still remember how he hired some thugs with palm fronts in their mouths to fight some construction company that came to make this place better then.

“They used sand meant for construction to block waterways and thereby rechannelling everything to us here. All rain water from all government drainage at Port Harcourt Road, Omuma Road, Cemetery Road and others, concentrates here.

We went to Uratta area to dig a big hole where water can enter, but at a point, when everyone was seeking for options to create water channels, they ended up directing everything to that place and soon it got filled up. Today, we are now at the receiving end of this entire politician’s inhumanity to man.”

The communities once mobilised and went to Umuahia, meeting Ike Nwosu, then military governor of the state without success, Eze explained. “The issue of sewage disposal on streets is new to me, but I’m seeing it at this my old age,” the old man said, adding: “Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) only comes here to collect money. They don’t come during the rains.

They come when they noticed that the younger ones in the community had gone to their various businesses. This was usually around 10am to 1am.” Eze said that these environmental officials will come and paste the amount of money each building was supposed to pay for environmental sanitation. “They apply that strategy to avoid confrontation.

When you fail to pay, they will use police to whisk you away. Most people have been killed in their sleep by rainfall water that comes from different places. Many have abandoned their property just to stay alive. Let the government help us while we are still alive, not when we are dead.”

High casualty figures

The landlord of 2, Nwaogu Street, Elder Charles Ahaneku, said that many persons had died as a result of the flood. He added: “I have been here since 1982. You may not have been told the truth but I must let you know that many children, whose parents have run away from here, were killed and carried away by this same flood we are facing today.

My fellow landlord in a building close to mine was killed by this flood in the year 2000. He had stayed back when his family left, to safeguard his property.

The rain got too much that he climbed on top of one thing he constructed in his house. His dead body was later discovered in the morning. The rains started at night. Any drop of rain sends fear into our hearts.”

The Pastor of Garden of Life Ministries, Chisom Oriaku, who lives at 5, Ahuruonye Street, said that all he still had left in the whole world was his wife and two children. He disclosed that the flood had taken every other thing away from him.

“I have suffered a lot here. The environmental condition of this place has been very detrimental to my church. In June 2010, the downpour we experienced one night made us to realise that we were leaving in Bar-Beach.

“All buildings were submerged, children died, people lost their properties and I in particular lost everything I had, including my credentials. It was by God’s grace that my wife, children and I, managed to escape with our lives.

I have made efforts to bring this to appropriate authorities through some local media here. But all to no avail. To make matters worse, the government drainage at Uratta Road was channelled to nowhere and whenever it rains, the water finds its way to this place. We’re residing in-between three to four government drainage that was channelled to nowhere.

This thing has remained like this for years now,” Oriaku lamented. He, however, said that whenever agencies that send relieve materials bring them, some politicians will hijack them and share to their friends who were not even affected as gift. Mrs. Ogechi Azunobi, another resident at 28, Railway Avenue, cannot forget the experience she had eight years ago.

She said: “Rain has become a curse to us. June 2010 is one period none of us want to see again. We were all sacked by a downpour by 2am. People were rescued from the roofs of their houses. My mother-in-law nearly died. Our suffering here is beyond explanation.

Our children experienced all kinds of diseases. One of my children contracted one ailment which they said he got from worms in this dirty water that affected his leg for years.”

At present, Ugwunna remains a sad man. He appears helpless and confused. “I was born here. I am a son of this land. What is happening here baffles me. I am deeply hurt by this situation as all the tenants my father left here are now either dead or worthless due to man-made environmental problem. I am not a happy man as all my father’s assets are been destroyed.

“Many persons, especially children have died here. My father’s house has collapsed because of the flood we are talking about today. If you go to Nwaogu Street, you will see that many property owners have abandoned their properties for safety.

We are trying our best to remain safe, but the pains of the past in still fresh, and the future looks bleak. Mrs. Peace Okwara, a resident of 13, Ahuruonye Street, also recounted her experiences. She said: “I was born here and I can tell you that during our childhood days, we do play freely from Ahuruonye, Nwaogu, Matthew and Railway Avenue.

I still remember that when my father was alive, he used to enter here with his car freely. But not anymore! Children cannot play here any longer because the whole streets are gone.

Many had died; I ‘m only lucky to be alive today. When it rains, we allow our children to remain safe in their schools because any attempt to bring them home will be disastrous. We are in a deep mess.”

The hazardous nature of the environment

Chukwuemeka Daniels, the caretaker of number 6, Mathew Avenue, said some well-connected landlords in the neighbouring streets are blocking all their moves to bring government’s attention to the dangerous unhealthy activities in their area. “What we are seeing here is terrible. Our eyes have been seeing our ears for many years.

We have shouted, cried and wept to the point we have now lost our voices. It seems all relevant ears are permanently deaf against us. When I went to health office at Aba South to make our usual frequent reports concerning our condition, I was categorically told that some landlords from three streets: Jaja, Onyike and Emeh are bribing people in top places to ignore our cries.

They know they are guilty of indiscriminate sewage disposal and are likely to face the law. “They release faeces down here. In my view, I believe that the silence of our government representatives is as a result of blockade of information by some persons in high places. At Emeh, Jaja and Onyike, whenever their septic tank is filled up, they bring pumping machine formerly at night to avoid been seen.

That was then. Now they leave it to litter our environment. They have created illegal drainage through which they dispose their sewage down to us.” The area, according to Oriaku, seems to have been mapped out for disaster by government and wicked neighbours who have no human feelings. “This place is now Government Reserved Area for disaster.

Our neighbours have taken advantage of that to make life miserable for us. People now catch very big cat fishes in some of these waterlogged portions of our streets.

Come back here by November and see how people catch fish in a place where there is no single stream. The owner of the fish pond and other persons there created an artificial drainage to move her waste here.”

Residents lament helplessness

Elder Benet Nwankwo said they feel helpless as they don’t have the financial capacity to fight those poisoning their environment. “ASEPA officials do come here but they don’t care about us.

We have had several meetings with them, begged thelandlords that do channel their sewage here; we warned them but they seem to know how to get off the hook.

We sued the woman that has fish pond at Eme who helps in messing up this place but we got no judgment because we don’t have the financial capacity to continue with it.

Here in Abia, if you don’t know anybody in power, you are just in the middle of the ocean. We are like people shedding tears under the rain but no one notices our cry yet we will keep crying,” he said.

Security challenges

The environment has become a den of robbers and centre for all kinds of illegal substances, especially cannabis. There had been many cases of abuse of women and young girls in the area by hoodlums who have taken advantage of the terrible road to perpetrate crimes against humanity including rape, assault and robbery.

A source in the area showed our reporter an abandoned building where he said eight hoodlums in the area gang-raped a young girl who crawled out of the building in pains before people sighted her.

The residents say the crimes are closely linked to the fact that they have realised that the area has been abandoned. “Cases of rape and robbery are on the rise, with many residents having lost their phones and other items at night there. Criminals now know we are abandoned persons and have no one to defend us so they’ve turned our area into their safe haven.

We have reported to the Aba Area Command and we were told to put everything in writing which is under process already.” According to the residents, most of the young girls in the area find it difficult to speak for fear of victimisation. On condition of anonymity, one told our reporter that most of her friends have been taken away by their parents to avoid any abuse of their womanhood.

Allege silence of concerned government officials

Pastor Oriaku says there seems to be a conspiracy of silence among government officials in charge of that constituency. “As I speak to you, no councillor, I mean ordinary ward councillor including our own, has ever visited to know what is happening here. Our Senator for Abia South Senatorial District doesn’t remember us.

The member representing Aba North and South Federal Constituency in the House of Reps promised to attend to the matter but up to three years now, he has not even visited us. Aba South chairman has never visited us.

Our own House of Assembly member who lives not far from us here has never visited to know what is happening here. No single rep of NEMA has entered here. All we hear is that they have sent relief materials. How can those we have never seen their presence here send relief materials to us? Oriaku wondered.

Efforts by residents to help their situation

On the day of the cleanup exercise, one of the most pathetic and touching sights in the whole exercise was to see 75-years-old Elder Agina from Nnewi in Anambra State, clearing a heap of rubbish brought in front of his house by storm water. Speaking, Elder Agina said: “I can’t help it. As far as government has forgotten us, I can’t, because of my age, allow this place to be like this.

I will try my best until I am unable to do so. I am not happy about it but it is a necessity. Nobody is close to me here, my children aren’t here. The only one here is busy with the youth there. I can’t leave it all for them.

After this work now, I will go for treatment. I have to clear here because the odour is unbearable I can’t stand it any longer. I am suffering. The situation here caused a problem in my leg but if I leave it unattended to, I would die.”

Experts vow action as indiscriminate sewage disposal poses serious health implications

Speaking on the health implications of indiscriminate sewage disposal and possible punishment for offenders, Mrs. Onyinyechi Nwaigwe, Director of Environmental Health in Aba South Local Government, said the current situation of residents of Ahuruonye, Nwaogu and Mathew as it relates to indiscriminate sewage disposal is very pathetic.

“The health implications of such acts are very dangerous. It can actually cause epidemics like; diarrhea, cholera and typhoid fever and so many others communicable diseases.

When they discharge those things, flies can perch on them thereby dropping the bacteria on people’s food. Rodents can also carry such bacteria to people’s homes because they like filthy environment.

Right now there are cases of Lassa fever everywhere and we know the role rodents play in spreading it. Mosquitoes also breed in such environment thereby spreading malaria.

The odour nuisance alone is enough to scare people away from coming to such a place. From reports there, it is obvious that everybody is sick today as a result of our filthy environment. This situation is affecting their family economic base because; they spend more in hospital than necessary,” she said.

On the possible punishments for those responsible, Nwaigwe said: “When I got a report concerning the discharge of waste water to public domain, wrong channelling of sewage and environmental pollution from the area you talked about, I sent my workers there to verify the report and they came with the confirmation that such is the reality of things there.

Based on that, I sent an invitation letter to the 19 premises involved in the act to come for a meeting in my office. At the end, only six of them came in respect to my invitation.

I have directed my workers to serve all those involved in that structural and environmental nuisance going on in that area a notice to stop such using our own time frame of operation.

Constructing sewage channels soak away and sewage pits indiscriminately is nothing but structural nuisance. Our time frame is 30 days. At the expiration of that, we will go back there to check things and if there are no changes, we will take the necessary step which obviously is to prosecute them. Also reacting on the indiscriminate sewage disposal, Prince Ndu Nwanke, the chief of staff to the Deputy General Manager of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Mr. Rowland Nwakamma, condemned the act while assuring the people of action soon. On the abandoned and blocked drainage, Abia State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Eziuche Ubani, when contacted, said he is not aware of the situation.

“Why is that place an issue? We have a plan of work. We are working on Port Harcourt Road right now and until we finish it then we cannot do anything about your so-called Uratta Road and all those streets been talked about because these are the areas that will carry storm water to the drainage there.

We cannot work in some places right now until we are through with Port Harcourt Road and what we are doing on the Umu- Agbai axis of that Port Harcourt Road. People might go to places like Ngwa Road and conclude that government is not working there.

Yes, we agree that we are not doing anything in Ngwa Road and the reason is because we want to do a tunnel at the middle of that road. We don’t want a situation where we will work on a road and return to work on it again.”

Area Commander denies receiving any complaints from the area

Area Commander in charge of Aba, ACP Peter Okpara, told our reporter that he had not received any formal complaints about the security challenges being faced by the residents. “I will be failing in my duty if such reports came to me and I refused to act. Most of the people here, once they come and make a verbal complaint that’s the end of it and you will never see them again.

How it is done is that, when they bring up such issues, I can ask them to liaise with the anti-robbery section and provide information to the police about the area. If they said they have made a complaint, let them put it in writing and make it get to me.

I cannot ignore the complaints of fellow Nigerians. The place may not be motorable but that is not an excuse for me. I cannot say because vehicle cannot enter there then we cannot secure the area.”

Alleged offenders say they can’t help the situation

When our reporter tried to reach landlords and residents of Onyike, Jaja, Eme and Eastern Streets who are been accused of polluting their neighbouring streets of Ahuruonye, Nwaogu and Mathew, most of them refused to comment on the issue.

Few who spoke said such acts as using pumping machine to dispose sewage in the streets is an age-long activity while others said the hazardous activities with construction on Port Harcourt Road.

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Investigation

SPOUSAL KILLINGS: Jealous Nigerian women on the rampage

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Nigeria appears to be grappling with unprecedented number of husbands being sent to their early graves by their wives. This was very rare in time past. But not anymore! It is, at present, becoming regular headline news. In this report, ISIOMA MADIKE, attempts to find answers to this new “madness”

 

In a marriage, spouses continually need each other, especially for emotional support. But not anymore! Nigerian men, it appears, are no longer feeling safe in their marriages.

They seem to be wondering what has happened to their wives. In time past, when there is domestic violence, people ordinarily assumed that it was a wife being physically abused by her husband.

That has been the stereoptye; that the oppressor or perpetrator is the male. And when female violence happens, it is said to be a reaction against male violence.

The stereotype is so strong that nobody wants to believe it could happen the other way round. Conventional wisdom also suggests that women usually kill their spouses in self defence or as a final, desperate reaction to chronic battery and the burning-bed syndrome.

This may be the reason many believe that barely a quarter of husband-killers are victims of domestic abuse and that less than half suffer from identified psychological problem.

Yet, recent incidents seem to suggest that the era for that assumption is now over. Perhaps, those were wives of the old school. These days, women rarely gave a warning before killing their companions.

Those who end their partners’ lives usually have been an under-examined, reported group. But, why are some people in nonviolent relationships kill their partners? A lot of reasons could be adduced to this. The most common, according to findings, is jealousy.

This arises when a wife thinks she is at risk of losing her partner to someone else. In most domestic violent cases that end in courts, jealous rage or morbid jealousy were often blamed for spurring the murders.

In most cases, the perpetrator lashes out with lethal violence, despite being previously non-violent.There could also be an issue of gain in which case the primary reason for the murder is to acquire some personal and tangible benefit.

The victims are killed because they had something the offender wanted, such as money or property. In these instances, there may be no prior abuse from the women’s husbands. However, the issue of jealousy appears to be stronger, in the recent cases of spousal killings. For instance, the one that happened on May 3, involved a childless lawyer, who is believed to have killed her husband because of alleged cheating.

The incident took place at Diamond Estate in Ogombo, Ajah area of Lagos State. According to a statement by the state Police Command Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, a Superintendent of Police (SP), the 47-year-old lawyer, Udeme Otike, stabbed and ripped her husband, Odibe’s stomach open, exposed his intestine and then severed his genital and placed it in his right hand. The couple, both lawyers, got married three years ago after the deceased divorced his first wife.

The first marriage produced a daughter currently schooling in the UK. Unfortunately, the marriage of the lawyers did not produce any child. Apart from jealousy, gain was also a possibility, the police said. According to what Saturday Telegraph gathered, trouble started when the accused allegedly demanded that the deceased willed all his properties to her.

This position was said to have been rejected because the man argued that his daughter must have a share of his properties. Before the Lagos incident, another had happened in Abuja, the nation’s seat of government. It involved one Maryam Sanda, who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, to death on November 20, 2017.

According to reports, Maryam allegedly killed her husband by stabbing him several times. Other online reports also said she allegedly attacked her husband based on allegations of infidelity after seeing a text message on his phone.

She equally reportedly stabbed him many times on his manhood. After stabbing him, she allegedly drove him to the hospital for treatment but he did not survive the attack. According to reports, it was not the first time Maryam would attack Bello violently. She was said to have once bitten part of his ear off during an argument.

Bello was treated at a hospital before returning home. Some reports said he was advised to leave the house but he refused, only to be brutally attacked the second time.

On August 21, 2016, another woman killed her husband after picking call from a ‘girlfriend’. The woman, Fola-shade Idoko, an auxiliary nurse, was arrested for stabbing her husband to death after he ‘dared’ to receive a phone call from a girl suspected to be his lover.

Their marriage was four-year-old at the time. The man identified simply as Lawrence was killed at their home in Ayetoro, Oto-Awori, also in Lagos.

The couple had two kids together. Also in Benue, another chopped off her husband’s penis over alleged infidelity on September 17, 2012. The 42-year-old, John Ajene, who resides in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, had his penis chopped off by his infuriated wife, Roseline. It was gathered from the eyewitness that Roseline carried out the dastardly act while her husband was deep asleep.

The woman, who resides with her husband on Ojira Street, Otukpo, had few weeks before the incident accused him of having extra-marital affair with a young lady, who lives on Sabon Gari area of the same town.

He was said to have been visibly enraged by the wife’s unfounded accusation that he had to beat her up mercilessly forcing residents in the neighbourhood to intervene in the ensuing skirmish.

However, when all seemed to have calmed down and the couple had gone to bed, the enraged wife picked up her kitchen knife and cut off her husband’s manhood while he was deep asleep.

“The scream of the man woke his neigbours, who rushed to his house only to discover his penis on the floor while he bled profusely,” the police said. Professor of Islamic Eschatology, Ishaq Akintola, has, however, given two reasons why this monster has somewhat become the fad at present. First, Akintola identified infidelity.

He noted that some women can be violently jealous. “Most men are naturally polygamous. Besides, women, outnumber men by a very wide margin. Yet 99 per cent of them are reluctant to share their men with any other women.

It arouses the bestiality in some women once they suspect that hubby is seeing another woman. Men naturally want other women and they are ready to do so secretly and illegally. Islam recommends the recognition of the institution of polygamy to avoid such confusion.

“What the Glorious Qur’an decrees in Chapter 4 verse 3 is that men can marry as many as four wives so long as they can maintain them physically and emotionally. But some men ignore the conditionality.

They marry more than one without the material and physical capacity. It often ends in disaster as women in such marriages fail to get emotional or material satisfaction.

“Quest for materialism is another reason. Some women are after their husband’s property. They woo the husbands to bequest their wealth to them only to kill them afterwards.”

His Christian counterpart, Bishop Stephen Ogedengbe, founder and Head of Evangelical Ministries (Wisdom Chapel), said a wife that kills her husband has lost normal humanity. He believes such a woman is possessed.

This, according to him, is because nobody gets married with his or her enemy. “I also believe it’s a pathetic situation that we now found ourselves. There could have been a level of anger and outright provocation before such could take place.

In such scenarios we should be able to understand that a woman is the one that chased man out of the Garden of Eden. So, it’s as if Eve killed Adam.

That is the foundation of women. They are like a horse. You have to tame the horse. How do you do that? You put a bead in the mouth of a horse before you can climb it and when you even do that you have to be gentle with the horse before you can ride on it.

“So, women need care, love, and assurance. You look at what that lawyer did, cut off the penis of her husband, that explains where her anger lies. It probably means she has been denied and she is like saying, ok, you don’t give it to me, you give it to nobody.

I don’t have it, no one else would have it. When a woman begins to talk on a particular issue in a marriage, a wise man will take out time to address such issue. Every woman needs attention; that is who they are. The only thing they need is care and love.

If she doesn’t get the attention she doesn’t care if the whole world collapse and she won’t bother about the consequences. That is the nature of their character and the way God created them. “The Bible fundamentally described them as the weaker sex.

This means she could go to any extend; she can build a house and set it on fire. That is weak. Weakness is not when you cannot fight; it means you don’t have the ability to endure. Your endurance is limited and the temperament is uncontrollable.

What we do to that is to begin to constantly pray and understand that in our marriage we need to be trusted. And in our society we should also realise that the women have a voice and their voices must be heard.

When we do this, we have a better society to live in,” the bishop said. A sociologist, Rev. Bola Nuga, has also given a sociological perspective to the maddening fad. He said that sometimes prolong provocation of the husbands/ wives could be a strong reason for such action. The day this provocation gets to the limit, he added, it then bursts and violent act results which can lead to the killing.

“Financial deprivation of the wife by the husband can also be a factor. Consistent and prolong financial deprivation can really cause anger which can make the wife to negatively react. Harsh economic reality can take its toll on the couple to begin to misbehave.

Besides, when a woman is sexually deprived on a regular basis, and upon the suspicion that the man is cheating on her, can really cause violence and negative reaction from the woman which can make her to sometimes inadvertently kill the man.”

The sociologist said that when dispute remains unresolved for a long time, the tendency is that it could result to frustration, especially if the woman is longing for a resolution, which is not forthcoming.

“The frustration of this prolong unresolved issue can really take its toll on the woman or the man, and, can trigger violent reaction. “Sometimes couple do take each other for granted in their marital existence.

The taking for granted can be that the partner could be thinking ‘there is nothing he/she can do’ when disagreement happens in the home. This assumption can sometimes be taken too far that the partner may want to prove that he/she ‘can do something’ to prove the capability of taking firm decision. That is the frustration or anger of being taken for granted.

“However, when couples are used to a very high standard of living, and when an unexpected event happen to the family, for instance, loss of job or contract, it consequently makes it difficult to keep up with the already established standard of living.

This can cause tension, frustration and bottledup anger in the house, especially when it becomes difficult to provide basic needs in the house and for the children. The bursting of the anger can cause a negative reaction leading to killing/ murdering of the partner.

“Moreover, when a partner has short temper in which little things get the woman or the partner angry, this short temperament can also result in violent and uncontrollable reaction in the home leading to killing or negatively reacting to issues in the house. It also happens when a partner fails to trust each other, mutual suspicion reign supreme.

This can aggravate any small incident in the house resulting to violent reaction which may lead to death of partner.” Nuga equally said that a partner that is melancholic in nature, will always exhibit such behavioural pattern in a relationship.

“It’s just a matter of time before such nature will be fully displayed in the home. Reactions are usually devastating,” he said. Another sociologist at the University of Ibadan, Oludayo Tade (PhD), has also said that the growing killing of husbands by their wives presents a complex but dangerous scenario, which calls for a serious concern about the shaky nature of the Nigerian family.

There are a lot of factors, he said, that could be used to explain what I can call return of violent favour or rise domestic balance of terror. “If we consider the different killings that have taken place from wives to their husbands, one would be able to see that women in distressed marriages are more likely to result to return-aggression or return-violent behaviour.

In other words, women who have been enduring or have history of stomaching and enduring fatal violence from their spouses may decide a return and say enough is enough.

“Unfortunately, because the ‘violent men’ are used to having their way in the past, they are oblivious of the determination to resist future torture. One thing is clear, when men beat or violates their wives; it is physical and does not involve weapons but strengthen their resolve, women use weapons such as knife or substance like poison to end it all.

The use of knife is also to ensure that the partner carry stigma or fills a commensurate pain the woman has been enduring if he does not die. “You could also see that husband killing cuts across all social classes but are more reported in the middle and lower social classes. Forced relationship could also be responsible for such killings.

This occurs where a premature or ill-prepared girl is ‘packaged’ to suit the whims and caprices of parents and such relationship ends up being uncaring, abusive and violent.

In the thinking of the lady, the way to end such nightmare is to annihilate the man in other to have her life back on track. This category utilises poison more than other physical weapon. “Also, social learning from failures of other women, who have suffered to the point of death due to prolonged period of intimate partner violence, teaches those currently experiencing such to take their own fate in their hands and prepare a counter terror strategy.

They are more likely to attack a cheating husband, uncaring man, and a historically aggressive man. Very few kill because of plan to take over the wealth of a very prosperous husband.

Even when this happens the means is not by violence but the use of poison in order to avoid direct linkage of the woman to the crime,” Tade said. He went further to state that the anger and hostility frames of explaining intimate partner violence states that the violent partner believes other person to be selfish, mistrust and mean.

The relationship, the sociologist said, could have suffered delayed child birth and the woman hears of the husband having a child out of wedlock, which triggers violence. Anger and hostility, he added, are clear signposts of impending danger in any distressed marital relationship.

He said: “Just like women, men who die in such instance, have only died only to their insistence on sustaining their male ego of power and domination over the female, and not been able to read signs of balance of terror.

Even when they have inkling of danger such as having opportunity to alert family members and relatives, they still fool-ishly sleep under the same roof with someone who has shown sufficient agency to cause havoc.

“They also mostly sleep in the same room unguarded or separate room without locking their door. Both women and men in such relationships should learn to walk away for some days until nerves are calmed to avert danger.

Contemporary marriages are suffering from violence and I think the violent is taking it by force.” Yet, the Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, said there is no reason for women killing their husbands/ boyfriends just as there is no reason for men to kill their wives/girlfriends. No one, under no circumstance, she said, has a right to take the life of another.

“However domestic violence is one issue that has for long been trivialised, and allowed to fester in Nigeria. Families, friends, neighbours, the police, religious leaders and the community at large often refer to it as a private matter.

The victims were mostly women, who were often blamed for their victimisation. People never thought men would be victims, which is what we are seeing now. Perhaps, if we all had taken the issue of domestic violence seriously, responding promptly and appropriately to victims’ cries for help, it may not have degenerated to this stage.

“Women are beginning to respond to various challenges in their marriages with violence, just as the men have been doing for so long. The monster called violence has been allowed to root itself deeply in marriages. It is very wrong.

The home should not be a war front. “However, domestic violence can be curbed in two ways: Firstly by mass sensitisation for people to understand what it means, its forms and consequences.

The sensitisation should convey the central message of ZERO TOLERANCE for violence in the home, and stiff punitive measures including ostracisation, imprisonment, community service and sacking from work to serve as a deterrent to would-be perpetrators.

These sensitisation programmes should be done in schools, places of worship, market places, work places and business districts.

“Secondly, state and non-state actors (communities, individuals, NGOs and faith-based organisations) should partner in rendering prompt and appropriate response to reported cases.

Victims should not be told to stay on in an abusive environment. They should leave to live, as that is the only way they can fight back. A dead man or woman can’t fight back. We must ALL say NO to domestic violence, starting from our personal lives and families,” she said. Another woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Nwaka, who has been in a marriage for over 40 years now, told Saturday Telegraph that unlike in their own time, today women in violent relationship may not agree with the assertion of playing the normative gender roles, which expects women to be submissive and passive when they find themselves in such situation.

Nwaka said: “They tend to want to protect themselves by ensuring that items that can be used to defend themselves when their aggressive husbands return home are with them.

They use anything available in that circumstance. Again, women in abusive relationships learn from those who had died of their husbands’ violence that the family system and the religious institutions only preach endurance and not walking away. The today woman, unfortunately, can’t take that any longer. Unlike our own time, education has also opened their eyes.

They are now more likely to attack a cheating, uncaring husband. And whenever such attack takes place, it’s usually deadly.” Meanwhile, Oti told our correspondent that couples in violent relationships should learn to resolve their problem before it escalates. The police, he said, have consistently advised couples to learn to resolve their differences amicably.

“They should also know that one should not be violent for problems of that nature to be solved because it can only create more problems than the one such people are trying to solve.

If you use problem to solve problem you create more problem. “Also, we advise couples to take advantage of all peaceful channels available in the police force, especially in the Lagos State command, for those who stay in Lagos.

The police have a family unit and personnel who specialise to handle the issue of domestic violence. We call it the gender section of the police force. When they come to us we try to resolve what the problem is.

We invite the couple, hear from them and proffer solutions to their problems. We have experts who are well schooled to handle issues of that magnitude.

We also advise those that have violent spouses to stay apart for a while; you don’t have to wait till he/she kills you, you report such persons to us. If you suffer such violence and refused to make a move the tendency for it to escalate is high,” Oti said.

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