The Women Aid Collective (WACOL) has commended the decision of the Anambra State government to suspend the Transition Committee (TC) chairman of Nnewi North LGA, Mbazulike Iloka, over the allegation that he killed his wife, Chidiebere Iloka.
A release singed and made available to BusinessDay by the founding director of WACOL/Tamar SARC, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, explained that Iloka, also known as “Ada Igboukwu”, reportedly died on 7th July 2022, after she suffered multiple injuries which resulted from the suspected physical battery by her husband.
The release reads: “The action of the Anambra State government led by Prof. Chukwuma Soludo is very swift and decisive to the extent that it sends a strong warning to perpetrators of violence against women. It speaks eloquently that the current government in Anambra State has zero tolerance for the pervasive gender-based violent crimes against women.
“The action further shows that the government is committed to stemming the tide of the violence against women and girls (VAWG) which plagued women in the state, especially now that it has assumed dangerous dimensions of murder.”
Ezilo in the statement also recalled that recently, the Nigeria gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu lost her life in similar circumstance, adding, “This incident was widely condemned by Nigerians including our organisation WACOL, hence her husband Peter Nwachukwu was arrested and is currently facing trial at an Abuja High Court.”
She recalled how a widow, Ajuese Obiora, from Eziagulu-Otu, Aguleri, Anambra East Local Council in South-Eastern Nigeria was accused of killing her husband, stripped naked and paraded in public.
“We condemn perpetrators of such barbaric acts of violence tormenting women. They have no place in modern society hence, should be fought to a standstill and put in the dungeon where they belong,” Ezeilo added.
Maintaining that the state government has acted well by withdrawing the appointment of Iloka as the TC chairman of Nnewi North, she opined that such action was not enough.
She called on the relevant authorities to further expedite action on the investigation, arrest, and effective prosecution of Iloka without delay to serve as a deterrent to other perpetrators.
“Indeed, the red flag has been raised concerning heinous crimes of spousal murder by male chauvinists in Nigeria, yet there seems to be little action in terms of securing justice for the victims and their families.
“The Nigerian governors’ forum in 2019 declared a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence, which is also a welcome development. However, not much has been done by the government to tackle this ugly phenomenon and provide succor to numerous victims/survivors.
“There is no doubt that social and cultural norms are exacerbating violence against women, and stereotypes perpetuated by the patriarchal system, especially in Igbo land,” said she.
Ezilo in the statement also appealed to chief executives of the various states to take steps to further the emergency declaration by the governor’s forum on SGBV and ensure that communities in their states comply with extant laws that protect women and girls from violence.
In her words: “In particular, the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Laws of various states of the federation must be effectively implemented to avoid future occurrences of such impunity of VAWG.
“Killer husbands still exist among our families, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and even in religious bodies, constantly harassing and causing violence on their immediate prey, especially their wives, until they maim or ultimately kill them.
“Society must unanimously rise with a collective voice in condemnation of these evil monsters of SGBV through effective reporting and victim/survivor support,” the professor stated.