Hameed Ajibola Jimoh

Prior to the enactment of the provisions of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015-herein after referred to as VAPA, applicable in Abuja, there were several reports of violence against women by men either as parents or husband or brother or in-law. So, those criminal laws that were in existence as at that time were majorly favourable to the women in respect of domestic violence. As time goes on, the reverse started becoming the case. Perhaps, those developments might have given rise to the enactment of the VAPA which generalizes persons who can be criminally liable for their suspected criminal action(s) under the Act to the effect that both male and female can now be charged with any contravention with any of the provisions of VAPA.

This paper considers the rising women’s domestic violence against men vis-à-vis the provisions of VAPA.

Under VAPA, ‘Domestic  relationship’  means  a relationship  between  any  person   and  a perpetrator of violence  constituted  in  any of the following ways— (a)    they  are  or were  married  to  each  other,  including  marriages  according to any  law,  custom  or religion; (b)    they   live  or  have   lived  together  in  a  relationship  in  the   nature  of marriage,  although they  are not or were  not married  to each  other; (c)    they  are  the  parents  of a child  or children or are the  persons  who  have or had  a parental  responsibility  for that child  or children: (d)   they are family  members  related  by  consanguinity,  affinity  or adoption; (e)    they  are or  were  in  an  engagement,  dating  or customary  relationship, including  actual or perceived  romantic,  intimate  or sexual  relationship of any duration;  or (f)     they share or recently  shared  the same residence. And ‘domestic violence’ means any act perpetrated on any person in a  domestic relationship where  such  act  causes  harm  or may cause  imminent harm to the safety, health  or well being of any person;’. Also, ‘violence’  means  any  act  or  attempted  act,  which  causes  or  may  cause any  person physical,   sexual,  psychological,  verbal,  emotional  or  economic  harm  whether   this occurs in  private or public life,  in peace time and in conflict situations:’. See: section 46 of VAPA generally.

As observed above, there are several disturbing cases of women’s domestic violence against men in this present generation, such as: a woman beating her husband; a woman pouring some chemical substances on her husband’s body or her husband’s genitals; a woman hitting her husband with hard objects making the husband to sustain several physical injuries or leading to his death sometimes; a woman slaughtering her husband with sharp objects; a woman stabbing her husband with broken bottles; a woman pouring hot liquid on her husband; a woman arranging with some gangs to beat up her husband; a woman destroying her husband’s property or burning same; a woman poisoning her husband either by food poisoning etc.; a woman sending her husband away from the home; a woman causing emotional, psychological and verbal abuse against her husband; a woman doing any of those other acts that could result and or amount to act of violence; among others, either alone or with the help of her friends or family members.  These acts of violence might have been committed by the woman for whatever reasons(s), may be as a form of revenge, or as a result of uncontrollable jealousy or anger or uncontrollable emotional and psychological disturbances or as a result of bad counsel or influence, either deliberately or mistakenly. These cases are becoming very rising on the high side that men generally, need to be very careful with relationship having any indication or suspicion of violence. For instance, the writer of this paper read a story of a woman on social media who discovered that her husband impregnated one of her friends one day. After her husband returned from place of work, she already prepared his meal-which they ate together-prepared the bed and they both had conjugal relationship that night. After the man slept off and unknown to him that the woman had previously bought some battery acid from a man which she intended to pour on him to seek revenge, the woman seized the opportunity and pour the battery acid on his manhood and according to the report, which is still in circulation on the social media, the man died five (5) days after the incidence! There are other cases of alleged homicide punishable with death, where a woman kills her husband. What is sometimes pitiable is that the spouses might have even given birth to children for themselves! In other words, what happens today is a reversal of what happened in the past!

Nevertheless, the writer of this paper admonishes women generally to try their best to control their emotions and anger. They should always avoid temptation of anger. They should always give room to God Almighty to take over of their lives. How will a child report such situation that, for instance ‘I do not have any parent anymore! My mother was sentenced to death because she killed my father! Or ‘My mother is serving a life imprisonment jail term for killing my father or for causing injurious harm that could lead to death to my father! All these are another trauma psychologically for such a child to bear!

The VAPA,  by its preamble, is ‘An  Act to eliminate violence in  private  and  public life,  prohibit  all forms  of violence against persons  and  to provide  maximum protection  and  effective  remedies for  victims  and  punishment  of offenders;  and  for related  matters.’. Section 2 of the VAPA prohibits Inflicting physical injury on another thus  (1)    A  person who willfully causes or inflicts  physical  injury  on  another  person by means of any weapon, substance  or  object, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5years or a fine not exceeding N100,000.00 or both. (2)    A  person   who  attempts to commit the act of violence  provided  for  in  subsection (1) of  this section commits an offence and is liable on   conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or to a fine  not exceeding N200,000.00 or both. (3)    A person who  incites,  aids,  abets,  or counsels another person   to commit the  act  of violence  provided  for  in  subsection (1)  of this  section   commits an  offence  and   is liable  on  conviction  to a term  of  imprisonment  not  exceeding 3 years or to  a fine not exceeding N200,000.00  or both. (4)    A person  who  receives  or assists another who,  to his knowledge commits  an offence  under  subsection  (1)  of this  section,  is  an  accessory after the  fact  and  is  liable  on conviction  to a  term   of  imprisonment  not exceeding 3 years or to  a  fine  not exceeding N200,000.00 or both. (5)    The Court may also award appropriate compensation to the victim as it may deem fit in the circumstance.’ Also, see: section 19 of VAPA where Spousal Battery is prohibited.

Furthermore, section 21 of VAPA prohibits Attack with Harmful Substance thus ‘21.(1)        A  person  who  uses  chemical,  biological or any  other harmful  liquid  on  another commits an offence and  is liable on conviction   to  a  term  of  life  imprisonment without an option  of fine. (2)    A person who attempts to commit the act of violence described  in  subsection (1)  of this section  commits an  offence  and  is  liable   on   conviction to a  term  of imprisonment not exceeding 25 years  without an option of fine. (3)    A  person who incites aids, abets,  or counsels  another person  to commit the  act  of violence, as provided for in  subsection  (1) of this section,  commits an offence  and is  liable on conviction to a term  of imprisonment not exceeding  25 years without an option  of fine. (4)    A person who receives  or assists  another  who, to his or her knowledge,  committed the  offence  provided  for in  subsection  (1)  of this  section  is  an accessory  after  the fact  and is  liable on conviction to a term  of imprisonment not exceeding  25  years without the option  of fine.’.

It is noteworthy that a man also has the right to seek protection order from the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory-Abuja pursuant to sections 28 to 38 of the VAPA against his violent wife(ves) or woman(en) or in-laws.

Furthermore, it should be observed that any person who counsels, aids or abets or becomes accessory after the facts is also liable under VAPA!

Finally, it is hoped that Nigerian women either in Abuja or elsewhere in other States in Nigeria (according to those States’ Violence prohibition law(s)) will take a strict observance of the provisions of VAPA and desist and or refuse to subject to any act or counsel of violence against their husbands and will be a patient, loving, peaceful and God fearing women and mothers in their husband’s matrimony.

E-mail: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

 

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