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Wife battery: Lawyers, clerics advise victims to seek judicial help

domestic-violenceSome lawyers and clerics in Lagos on Friday advised victims of wife battery to always seek judicial help to check the excesses of their husbands.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that a large number of women had died from wife battery and suffered marriage dissolutions.

Mr Adekunle Alabi, a lawyer, said Matrimonial Courses Act which governed the institution of marriage prohibits husbands from beating their wives, adding that battery was a torturous liability.

He said the menace which thrived mostly in the African setting had become a norm, urging victims to seek for judicial help.

“The law is certain, a woman should enforce her right, when being battered by her husband; African women should wake up to their rights and seek refuge in the law,” Alabi said.

He observed that most victims refused to turn to the law for justice in the name of love for their husbands, children and the stigma placed on divorce in African tradition.

“African women, most especially Nigerian women, tend to endure being battered by their husband because they want to stay married for the fear of being stigmatised.

“There is also the fear of being termed ‘the women who convicted her husband’ by friends, relatives and neighbours,” he said.

The lawyer lamented the laxity on the part of law enforcement agencies, especially the Police in cases of domestic violence.

“The Police, in most cases when the victim is not yet dead, take cases of husband beating up by his wife as a trivial issue that can be settled by the couple’s family.

Mr Ibrahim Isa, another lawyer, said that battery had gone beyond the matter of love or wanting to maintain the African tradition of staying in marriage.

Isa said that battery was a serious criminal offence and should be duly treated by the African society.

He added that a husband who inflicts serious injury on a woman he claimed to love should be taken to the psychiatric hospital for a mental check-up.

He said that there were series of law guiding against battery, such as the Lagos Criminal Laws and Administration of Criminal Justice Act Law (ACJL), among others which victims could consult to get justice.

“These laws frown at battery, marital relationship like any other relationships is bound to have their ups and downs, but when it deviates to criminal tendencies then the law should take its course,” he said.

He advised that in cases where the family had mediated and the abuse continued, the victim should seek for justice in the law for her safety.

Mr Kamalddin Akintunde, President, National Council of Muslim Youth Organisation (NACOMYO), told NAN that Islam opposes violence in marriage and other areas of life, urging victims of battery to turn to the law.

“It is in consonant with convention for a spouse to seek judicial process for the actions of her husband.

“In the Islamic law, we have Sharia law, if a couple have consummated their marriage according to Islamic law, there are certain principles to be applied to deal with the matter.

He added that Islam is a religion of peace which encourages men to tongue lash their wives as a corrective measure and not to beat them.

He advised that a wife should separate herself from a habitual wife beater for a while to command the respect of her husband.

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