Clerics, community leaders express rage, as cases of men
sexually assaulting own daughters rise
By Cosmas Omegoh
THERE is a wave of incest sweeping across the country at the moment. Innocent girls, who are victims of this ill have been giving chilly accounts of how they were defiled and deflowered by their own biological fathers. The trend is on the rise and the public space is bursting at the seams with its aftermath.
Now the questions are: Who can stop this marching army of amorous men that can no longer control their libido? Who can stop these seemingly depraved men from taking their toddlers and teenage daughters to the cleaners? These perverse acts, which are brutally bulldozing their ways into the society, are leaving many confused as to the direction the world is now headed.
In sane communities, there is no place for incest; it is certainly never a way of life. Many Nigerians have insisted that incest must not be allowed in the country, calling the development by its right name: Evil.
Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, President, Aka Ikenga; Rev. Fr. Ben Ogu, a Catholic priest from Ahiara Diocese, Imo State, and Alhaji Idowu Ajibola, Baale (traditional ruler ) of Tolu, in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State, and others unanimously affirm that incest is evil. Their condemnation is inspired by recent cases of fathers, having carnal knowledge of their own little children.
In Lagos recently, it emerged that a certain man simply identified as Iwuanyanwu, allegedly raped and subsequently impregnated his own biological daughter (name withheld). The girl was 15 years old and the crime was committed in her father’s home in Ajao Estate.
Iwuanyanwu had reportedly clobbered his wife and daughter on various occasions just to compel them to keep quiet, warning them not to disclose his atrocities to anyone. But his threat did not stay for long. Eventually, the gist of his dirty deeds burst out in the open recently.
Family members, who got wind of the storm in Iwuanyanwu’s home were said to have intervened and reported the matter to the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development. The latter in turn, told the police, who are currently sorting things out with the apparently perverted father.
Earlier before then, a 14-year-old girl (name withheld), also in Lagos, was said to have bitterly disclosed how she was defiled on two occasions by her own father. The man identified as Waheed, 48, was later arrested by policemen attached to Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos.
Police said that the suspect, who was a resident of Ikorodu, another part of Lagos, had admitted to the crime, blaming his plight on a certain perceived influence over his life.
The girl, who lived with his father, step mother and four siblings, was an SS1 student of a secondary school in Ikorodu. Feeling that she had had enough from her father, she blew the lid open by reporting her ordeal to a church in the neighbourhood. The church in turn reported the incident to the police.
It also emerged that the police in Lekki, Lagos, recently arrested a 37-year-old man named Oluwaseyi, for allegedly raping his two daughters. The first one was four, and the second, six. The accused also allegedly defiled his 15-year-old stepdaughter. He was consequently arrested after his wife reported the matter to a non-governmental organisation.
Oluwaseyi was said to have been separated from his wife although he had custody of the girls. At the same time, he was said to be living with his stepdaughter whom he had allegedly raped on several occasions before the poor girl reported to a neighbour, who then informed her mother.
In Ibadan too, a certain Awoniyi was arrested not too long ago allegedly for defiling his two under-age biological daughters as well as his two nieces. All the victims were under-18. The Oyo State Police Command said the crime was allegedly committed at Moniya in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state.
But the suspect denied the incest accusation, claiming that he was being held for a crime he knew nothing about. However, neighbours, who, at some point, became aware of the development, were said to have testified that the accused had sex with his victims on various occasions.
Findings by the police revealed that the accused person had carnal knowledge of his own daughters and that happened each time the man was drunk.
Worried by this trend, Chief Uwazuruike, a lawyer and cultural activist, has given insight into the acts that many would say constitute incest.
“In Igboland in particular, incest is any sexual relationship between a woman and her son or biological brother or cousins or uncle and niece or between a man and woman who share common ancestry. Even in a community of more than 2,000 people, incest is committed when a man and woman, who are related by ancestry have sexual relationship, no matter how far apart their ancestral homes might be from each other.”
“Incest or whatever name anyone might call it has no place in Igboland. The Igbo custom abhors it.
“In fact, in Igboland, in order to ensure that people do not mistakenly commit incest, just before they get married, a series of inquires is conducted before the marriage is contracted. This is to ensure that the intending partners, who have common ancestry don’t get married to one another. If the marriage is contracted in error, it has to be broken; otherwise it would have some severe consequences.
“In the olden days, people who committed incest were sold into slavery. But as time wore on, in some communities, those who committed incest were mobbed or even banished. That was then. Now, people who commit incest are sanctioned. We have informal groups, such as the youths and the Umuada (daughters of the village), who are always there to defend the norms and lore of the society. They visit the offenders with sanctions.”
When reminded that one of the men accused of incest lately – Iwuanyanwu – was an Igboman, Chief Uwazuruike burst out: “I dare him to go home to his village and see what awaits him. Of course, the youths and the Umuada are already waiting to receive him.
“All communities in Igboland at the moment belong to the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist or other religious persuasions. There are also groups in these churches that serve as vigilance groups. In Catholic communities, for instance, the Christian Mothers are there. They serve as a vigilance group. They stand to promote sanctify and edifying values.”
Fr. Ogu, on his part, told the reporter that “the church views incest as an abomination and an outrageous evil.
“The Bible too sees it so,” he noted. “The Bible says those who involve in incest are cursed because it is an abomination.”
He was vehement that part of the reason people indulge in such evil practice was because of the growing lack of sense of the sacred and crude crave for materialism. “Our contemporary Nigerian society sometimes looks to me like depraved and sinking into insanity because of the crave for the mundane and the immoral,” he submitted.
The clergyman noted that seeing the quantum of evil that Nigerians commit each passing day, he sometimes wondered if God was not far from this country, not because Nigerians were not attending services in the churches and mosques but because most people were merely religious but wicked.
According to him, the only way people could overcome ills, such as incest in the society was for them to begin to reconsider their conscience and become less materialistic, noting that it seemed that part of the trend was driven by occult practice and crave for material wealth. He warned Nigerians to always desist from seeking pleasure in material things alone.
Among the Yoruba-speaking communities too, incest is abhorred, says Alhaji Ajibola.
He told the reporter that no community condoned it, warning that it remained a major evil that must be avoided by all.
“Incest of all sheds is evil,” he said. “Whether it is a man having carnal knowledge of his daughter or a woman sleeping with her son or between children of the same parents or relations, having anything carnal with one another, it is abominable.
“In fact, if such a thing happens, it clearly shows that something is seriously wrong. It indicates that something within that community needs to be corrected. So, usually, we take urgent steps to stop such wrong so that things will augur well with the culprits. We ensure that the curse and calamity, accompanying such evil is averted.
“Part of what we do is to consult the oracle. And whatever it tells us to do, we do.”
And what will the oracle say, one might wonder? Ajibola says: “The oracle is sure to tell us to cleanse the land. The Baale will be mandated to perform the Oro rite. Usually no woman witnesses this ceremony.
“One of the segments of this rite demands that the culprits (man and his daughter) be brought in the open and made to back themselves. The essence of this is to ensure that the sexual urge they had for each other is killed totally and when next the father sees his daughter, both will go their separate ways and would have nothing sexual with each other anymore.”
He, however, warned parents to desist from having sexual feelings for their children. “One way to avoid this is for parents to desist from sleeping in the same room with their children.
“Parents must learn to have self-control too, so as to ensure that they don’t crave for their children. This is totally wrong, no matter how anyone looks at it,” he emphasised.