•City People Reveals All The Behind The Scene Details
Anthonia Iheme worked as a nurse in a nursing home in Hennepin County, Minnesota, in the US. She went to work, finished her shift, and was heading to the car to go home on July 24th, 2008. She got into the car and was about to pull out of the car park when she was shot – twice.
Her vehicle lurched forward and clipped the side of a parked van before going over a pavement, down a small hill and striking a chain-link fence bordering the nursing facility. The gunman followed. He approached the driver’s window and fired several more shots.
The attacker was Anthonia’s husband. It was July 24, 2008. After murdering his wife, he called 911 and declared: “I have killed the woman that messed my life up … a woman that destroyed me.”
On his part, Joseph Mbu, 50, did not use a gun. He massacred his wife in a gory manner!
He was reportedly tired of his Registered Nurse (RN) wife’s “serial disrespect” of him. The disrespect began as soon as she became a RN. Gloria Mbu, 40, had once told her husband he must be “smoking crack cocaine” if he thought he could tell her what to do with her money now that she made more money than him.
Before she became a RN, Mr. Mbu had been very strict with family finances and was borderline dictatorial in his dealings with Mrs. Mbu.
However, Mrs. Mbu learned the American system and would no longer allow any man to “put her down.” When Joseph Mbu could not take it anymore, he subdued his wife one day, tied her to his vehicle and dragged her on paved roads all around Los Angeles until her head split in many pieces. Anthonia’s story and that of Gloria are just two in the cases of husband and wife relationships gone sour in the US.
What usually happens is, these men relocate to the US and work their butts off to gather wealth. Some of them school there and secure mega jobs. They then decide to marry from home because they’re scared of marrying women in the US.
As they see them as exposed and too independent. They also see them as controlling. So, they come home to marry because they see the ladies from home as malleable and dependent. They take their wives with them to their homes abroad after the marriage. One way or the other, these women further their education and their husbands are usually responsible.
They complete their education and start earning bigger paychecks than their husbands. And, because they have been exposed to the liberty of the female gender in the US, they start to assert themselves and this makes the men uncomfortable.
There’s usually a clash of cultures and this affects the soul of the marriages. Most often, these marriages break up and the men are usually at the losing end as the Law supports the woman and grants her custody of the kids as well as a substantial part of the man’s wealth. Such men often have to start their lives afresh and they find it painful and depressing! So, instead of watching the women enjoy their wealth, they just decide to kill them and go to jail or commit suicide after the murder. This situation is so worrisome and got the attention of Grace Ogiehor-Enoma, a nurse and executive director of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America (NANNNA).
After 10 Nigerian women – eight of them nurses – had been killed in the US by their partners between 2006 and 2008 – shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death – Ogiehor-Enoma decided to act. So, what did she do?
She started handing out her mobile phone number at community gatherings and events. It became an unofficial, de facto hotline for Nigerian men abusing or contemplating killing their partners, for couples seeking help, and for abused women.
The unofficial hotline was part of her organisation’s efforts to understand and tackle domestic violence among Nigerians in the US. Why was there so much violence against nurses? What should be done?
In an interview published in 2017, Ogiehor-Enoma said she receives calls from men complaining about their wives, especially Nigerian nurses in the US. She said she allows them vent and then turns around to educate and counsel them.
The advice and counselling Ogiehor-Enoma dispenses draws on her medical training, her Nigerian background, and common sense.
When she receives calls from men, she refers them to local NANNNA leaders in their state; and she directs abused women to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The calls are confidential and are often from nurses and their partners. But it is difficult to get these men and women to trust and use resources outside the community.
NANNNA commissioned a research in 2011 and presented its findings to the Ministry of Health in Nigeria and created domestic violence groups in their 13 chapters across the US.
Ogiehor-Enoma faces a lack of resources to create an official hotline with designated responders other than her as well as the culture of silence around domestic violence that prevents more people from using existing services to openly discuss intimate partner abuse.
More research, services and programmes tailored to the cultural needs of the community are needed to effectively monitor and curb domestic violence, she says. This would involve collaborating with diaspora groups and religious centres such as churches and mosques.
These are some of the ways through which the organization hopes to stop domestic violence in the US against women.
So, what did the organization discover to be the cause of this violence against women?
Their findings revealed a recurring theme for Nigerian women in the US. They earned more than their partners and worked long hours, which kept them from what their partners perceived to be their domestic duties and led to suspicions of infidelity.
It also revealed a clash between a particular strain of patriarchy – as embodied by the Nigerian man accustomed to the norms of his male-dominated homeland – and feminism, as represented by the acculturated Nigerian woman. Women were accused of “losing their identity” in the US and being corrupted by its “women-friendly” legal system.
The NANNNA study also revealed “Nigerian nurses also marry Nigerian-American men as tickets/passports to higher income and better quality of life.” And that some Nigerian-American men often return to Nigeria to marry nurses or women they later convince to adopt the profession.
After bringing their female partners to the US and or funding their nursing education, some of the men feel entitled to their partners’ salaries and insist on controlling their income. Once the women start to work, the men expect a return on their investment, says Ogiehor-Enoma – but in the US they often find it harder than anticipated to control their partners.
“Decisions about how money is spent are a source of conflict. The women were blamed for rebelling against this expectation and sometimes flaunting their superior contribution to their peril,” says the NANNNA study.
To document the findings, NANNNA is currently collaborating with two psychiatrists at Yale University, Theddeus Iheanacho and Charles Dike, to formally research domestic violence against nurses in the US and Nigeria.
Based on news reports of fatal domestic violence cases, Iheanacho estimates that on average in the past decade about three to four Nigerian nurses are killed by their intimate partners every year.
“In Nigeria, the balance of power, most of the time, is in the man’s hands, so he has less recourse to violence,” says Iheanacho. “Domestic violence is acceptable in Nigeria.”
Nearly a third of all women in Nigeria, 28 percent, have experienced physical violence. Nigeria has disparate pieces of legislation. A few states have passed legislation on domestic violence, but others permit husbands to physically “correct” their wives. Nigeria signed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act into law only in 2015, after a decade-long legislative process. The bill finally tagged spousal battery as “an offence”.
“[But] there is no enforcement of laws around domestic violence in Nigeria,” says Iheanacho.
A research by Buster C Ogbuagu of the University of St. Francis Joliet, Illinois, USA, titled: “Domestic Conflicts and Marital Violence in Diasporic Nigerian Families: Is It Time for a Paradigm Shift in Cultural Ways of Thinking and Acting?” revealed that these arranged marriages from Nigeria failed due to patriarchy, conjugal conflicts and violence resulting in the men murdering their wives, some in gruesome and macabre ways.”
Tracing the roots of the situation, the research stated that these Nigerian males arrived in the 1970s and 1980s and onwards in search of a better life, married, and settled down with spouses they met in their host countries.
But others were not so successful in their marriages or cohabitation with the locals, mostly White and African American women, as these marriages quickly broke down owing to cultural and values incompatibilities.
With time rapidly passing and loneliness enveloping them, some traveled to Nigeria, returning with the so-called “Fedexed” wives, several years, even decades younger. Again, several of these often arranged marriages fail for several reasons, including patriarchy, conjugal conflicts and violence resulting in the men murdering their wives, some in gruesome and macabre ways.
The study offered strategies for managing Nigerian and other Diasporic marriages, relationships and the attendant conflicts in such ways that Nigerians and other ethnics who arrive in Europe and the Americas do not become statistics for such infamy as uxoricide (femicide) that ultimately draws long prison tenure or the lethal injection, while destroying their families forever.
The study concludes that “the killing of Nigerian women by their husbands in the Diaspora is not acceptable in any shape or form, for it goes against the grain.” And that a man cannot lose their masculinity simply because they ceded some of their privileges to their wives, and rather than see them as objects of control, view them as the partners that they really are and one that the marriage contract dictates. Certainly cleaning up after oneself, changing diapers, buying grocery and sundry domestic activities should be viewed as universal, non-gendered activity. Women have since ceased to be chattels in the west and the Diasporic males who have taken up residency here know this by the presence of Violence Against Women Act, and other protocols designed to protect them as members of a historically abused, scorned and fringed group. It is a known fact that persons of color and ethnicity are historically oppressed groups in Europe and America. While this is understandable, although not acceptable, the act of killing one’s own flesh and blood, for any reasons whatsoever, is a self-immolatory venture that rather than award one masculinity that they earnestly quest for, strips them of it, permanently.”
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