Old habits hard to break

I came across an interesting article the other day. It was about a nasty trend in the USA whereby African immigrants were taking law into their own hands rather than seek the help of the land in which they live to settle domestic feud.

This article focussed more on Nigerian men killing their wives – gives about six examples with similar circumstances before wives were killed by their husbands – few of which were:

– The women went to join husbands in the States and husbands support during educational/career pursuits.

– All were Registered Nurse in the States

– All changed attitudes as soon as their financial status improved.

– Husbands of all felt wives were ‘disrespectful’ as this is not our ‘tradition’ so killed wives to rid of insults in their lives.

There are many success stories of Nigerians in diaspora, but when tragedies follows certain pattern then attention is paid more than usual.

Comments on this article were as interesting as the incidence itself. One thing that initially attracted me to reading through was when I read the attitude is usually common with village women – oh well, villagers are always the butt of all jokes.

Nigeria is a patriarchal society, we do this shamelessly even when it is detrimental to our progress.

I think it is a misconception to think marrying from ‘home’ is a gateway to imbecile wives who would work to keep the family afloat and at the same time on call 24/7 at the service of the husband all in the name of tradition.

For those who have been away from home for a long time – well, things are changing. We still have long way to go giving women deserved respect for their contribution in our society but now you have many more women playing equal parts to raising their families and father need not feel belittled by that even when women tightened their purse strings.

I remember at one point when my sisters and I were in secondary school, it got to a point that my parents divided responsibilities – my dad to pay school fees and books while mother was in charge of food, clothing, house rent and all that was in-between.

My father didn’t have time to dwell on anyone being disrespectful to him or that Moomi earns more money, his goal was that no matter what the cocoa or kola nut prices was he must earn enough for our tuition which he did or finds a way to be adult about it and get his wife to foot the bill.

People at home are embracing positive trends from around the world, one part of it is women owing up to their contribution and getting fathers to play their parts too.

With more girls’ education being promoted, this will only continue to benefit our larger society.

Not sure why folks are under illusion that adhering to tradition is synonymous to taking advantage of your spouse.

RIP to the victims.

I only hope folks would learn from these atrocities when it comes to joining their spouses overseas.

18 thoughts on “Old habits hard to break

  1. Observer
    It is sad and interesting to know this evil happens to Nigerian women within the US. While I do not pass judgments, it is inhuman to solely provide for the family and be expected to assume the position of the meek lamb while being trampled upon in the name of tradition. What do the Nigerian men want, an educated buffoon? Nigerian women have not been very observant, pity; ‘love they say is blind’ Wish love has the headlamp of a huge truck! This dynamics is what writers like Buchi Emecheta have been condemning since the early 70s. My questions are: Is Nigerian Nurses Association in the US awake to the need for justice? Under the laws of the land, what happens to the ‘animals’ who feel a woman should be slave? How does the society tame future murderers; because we need these poor nurses to mother their children.
    Women should be wary of staying too long to the point of being killed. Seek help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the insightful comment.

      This issue was originally raised by Nigerians in the US given the striking similarities of the victims – that is commendable. Hopefully many more people are aware and perhaps men who is prone to insecurity of their wives earning power would seek help in time.

      Thank you for the reminder of Buchi Emecheta – that is a perfect example, her story in the hand of insecure husband was well documented in ‘In the Ditch’ and ‘Second Class Citizen’.


  2. Nice one FK.
    I think the fault is with both parties.
    It is a well known fact that African-American women are more successful than African-American men in the service sector economy. This is also the case in the UK. So it comes as no surprise that African women are following suit.

    I would say African/Nigerian women are partly to blame because they portray a false image of meekness and submissiveness in order to scoop someone with access to life abroad. They should be honest and upfront in their behaviour, not sneaky and deceptive.

    Many Nigerian men find African-American women ‘too much of a handful’, therefore they opt for the cowed, submissive and ignorant girl from the village.

    People are naturally going to raise their expectations, so if they find themselves outperforming their husband, they should not use that as an excuse to ‘disrespect’ their men.

    Nigerian men on the other hand should not tie their view of masculinity to being the chief bread winner, especially in a service oriented economy. They will have to realise that marriage is a partnership, they can’t rule the roost and expect their wives to act like maids. This is especially the case when divorce overseas is no big deal, so the wife can always ditch them, if they have had enough of the man they married.

    I think it is a matter of maturity, especially on the part of the man. People will have to negotiate the changing balance of power, where things were hopelessly one-sided.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right, I think this whole problem evolved because those involved failed to see reason to compromise and lack maturity, as you rightly put it.

      jco – these men did not marry just anyone from the village o. They often marry women who have certain level of education, or even have finished their first degree – should that not be enough clue that the said women would someday love to own up to their success?

      ‘Sneaky and deceptive’ eh? Well, if he is a man enough, how about marrying someone down his alley so there’ll be less mystery involved?

      Or – if so keen to marry from the ‘root’ take a trip home, spend quality time say 6 months, if lucky enough to find someone then give it a couple of years to get to know each other properly – unlikely to turn axe-killer if felt disrespected 🙂


      1. One can never know for sure, what the partner is likely turn out as – true. But a longer courtship should be undertaken so that one can get a better idea of who they will tie themselves to.

        I completely agree if someone has education more than likely they will aspire for more, so if the husband can’t see that – too bad for them. They only have themselves to blame.

        Yes, I’ve met quite a few sneaky (cunning) Nigerian women. They behave one way to get something, then switch to something else entirely once they have whatever it is they want.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Now you make me laugh! Stay clear of the ‘sneaky ones o’ 🙂 hopefully they are harmless.

          I heard a story of an elderly man who insisted her daughter travels home from the UK to marry a Naija man – now I am hoping she wouldn’t get a sneaky & cunning Naija man.

          While most folks are not like these guys, my suspicion is that sometimes folks tend to put too much emphasis on self-importance just because of paperwork that wouldn’t put food on the table or pay for vacation.

          We live to learn…


  3. Traditions of men. Pray tell my dear President – is it our tradition to kill if your woman disrespects you? Then these men were taught tradition by a murderer.

    The world has gotten to the point of shared responsibility, but that should be mutually agreed and not set in stone. Love begats respect. Sometimes in marriage especially the one with these kind of ‘wife-is-the-breadwinner’ thing, ‘disrespect’ is perceived or assumed even when not shown by the woman.

    As for attitude change, it could be as a result of enlightenment and awareness of other positive and negative forms of behaviour in the new country. Could be real or perceived too.

    A sad situation this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. wife killer would likely kill even if he remains in his Naija village is my take here…

      That’s true, shared responsibility is very common in Nigeria even down to those who have very little in society so where these guys get their idea of doing nothing and expecting wives to be all is beyond me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Folakemi, glad to be following on your journey.

    What you share is hardly a new trend. I first came across a similar article which listed up to 12 examples almost 7 years ago. Many of the women where nurses, and many of the husbands had no income.
    It used to be popular among Nigerian men in the US to go home, marry young, and then put their wives through nursing school with the intent that they will support their familes afterward. What it seems these men forget is that, traditionally, the breadwinner in a family (the man – by Nigerian customs) works while the second partner takes care of the household. They somehow expect the woman to uphold all her womanly duties AND work full time or overtime.
    Many of the cases I hear of is exactly this. Women who will not stand for it, and men who somehow see their wives as commodity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kem for contributing to this. I only read about this a few day ago and just learning it’s nothing new. I suppose the news is making round again to draw awareness.

      You are right that the men in the article seem not to have any stream of income and neither were they willing to take on ‘house husband’ role to properly look after the family affairs when wives out working.

      But the kind of ‘treats’ these folks were after do not even exist in Nigeria, not if one wants children to be in school/learn trade etc – what a twisted mindset to have!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Fola, I think the statistics point out that most women who are murdered are murdered by their partners, in North America. Patriarchy rules all over and some countries are more open about it than others. We like to think we are further ahead in the West and in a lot of cases, that really isn’t so. We have to do a better job of raising our sons to realize that women have an important role to play in society and deserve respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, all of the women killed in this particular case reside in the USA and are all of Nigeria origin who claimed to have supported their spouses after joining them in the States.

      That is true that patriarchy rules all over the world but slightly on the high end in Nigeria, however, the truth is many Nigerians living outside that country do indeed embrace positive traditions of their new home and abide by the law of the land.

      With awareness into the importance of educating and empowering women, there’s hope.

      Liked by 1 person

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