It is no longer a secret that many Nigerian families in America are dysfunctional. Disturbingly, many Nigerian marriages are in trouble. Some have either ended in divorce or separation, while others are just fudging. Even in the face of that pretentious buoyancy, there is a violent temper coupled with anger simmering beneath the surface of some of these marriages.
The continued rant and rave in some of these families have escalated to perennial domestic disputes that have consumed them leaving everyone confused and grappling with elusive solution.
Some years ago, I wrote about some Nigerian marriages ending deadly to shine light on the dark side of Nigerian marriages in the Diaspora. Prior to that story, I wrote a piece entitled, “Do women really know what they want from men?” In that story, I began by saying that while the nomenclature of relationships was not within the purview of the story, in the Diaspora, however, relationships, especially monogamous ones, were under immense pressure or stress either because of the environmental factors or other unique circumstances, or both. No matter what the circumstances were, it was often more convenient to abandon a stressful or tumultuous relationship than to painfully go through the agonizing years of resolving the inherent protracted problems. In some cases, some people are just hanging in there for the kids in a relationship that has long ended.
I further opined in that piece that no relationship was immune from stress-related friction. Obviously, no marriage was immune from divorce. Indeed, separations and divorces were becoming rampant among Nigerians in the Diaspora. Unfortunately, as the separation and divorce rates among Nigerians were respectively surging, so did the differing perspectives on the matter. Depending on who you asked, you would not only get varying reasons why Nigerians divorce at an alarming rate in various cities of the United States, especially in large ones, but would also elicit varying opinions about who to blame for the break-ups.
In any case, the significance of the high rate of divorce among Nigerians in the Diaspora is that people no longer shy away from discussing openly some of the causes of marital disputes among Nigerians living in the Diaspora. In some quarters, people have advanced some of the probable causes of problems in some marriages to be infidelity, inability to cope with change, withholding of love, lack of communication, physical abuse, influence of mother-in-law, and a host of other factors. Indeed, infidelity and the influence of mother-in-law have ruined some Nigerian marriages in America. Some of the divorces have claims of infidelity, as well as the influence of mother-in-law as their primary causes of marriage dissolution.
It is pertinent to note that the changing role of Nigerian ladies in America has activated the inferiority complex of some Nigerian men. In some Nigerian families, the ladies are the breadwinners. Traditionally, that is the role of the men. However, in situations where the contrary prevails, both men and women have had difficulties adjusting to the dynamics of this complex society. While men churn in inferiority maze, the women either deliberately or inadvertently remind the men that they are making the money. As a result, there is always a constant bickering about minute things.
Understandably, there is a perceived notion that some Nigerian wives withhold love from their husbands. Obviously, some women would rather spend more time at work than spend it with their spouses.
The issue of withholding love may be due to physical and mental tiredness resulting from long work hours. If the women are charged with men’s responsibility, they have to work to provide for the family. If they are tired, the rest will be history.
Compounding the marital problem is the lack of communication. Some Nigerian marriages end because of lack of communication. Interpersonal and communication skills of some Nigerians are poor. As a result, expressing one’s needs freely in a cordial atmosphere is impeded.
Obviously, some women suffer physical abuse in their homes. It is a problem that needs to be addressed in our community. Violence is not gender specific. Men also receive emotional and physical abuse from their spouses. Culturally, it’s a taboo for a man to disclose that he is being beaten by his wife. As a result, some men are carrying an emotional scar for being abused by their wives. However, unlike in the past when marriages ended deadly, the absence of rash of deaths due to domestic violence is what everyone wanted.
In the past, with each passing moment, domestic disputes among Nigerian families in the USA were becoming violent and sometimes, deadly. The simmering was now seeping out. And with the phenomenon at play, only one incident could have the potential to form a deadly mix that would change the families forever. Regrettably, that was exactly what happened to two families recently in Dallas suburbs some years ago.
In Grand Prairie, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, Mrs. Monireti Abeni Akeredolu, a Nigerian lady met her untimely death a day after her birthday in the hands of her estranged husband, who lived in Atlanta Georgia.
When he found the opportune time to commit his heinous act, he emptied four bullets on her and left her dying in a pool of blood. She died in the driver’s seat in her car. The surviving son was left without both parents as his dad faced a long prison term.
Similarly, some years ago in Euless, a suburb of Dallas, another Nigerian husband, reportedly murdered his wife, Mrs Isatu Omorogieva by savagely striking her on the head numerous times with a hammer in the full view of his young daughter. At the time of the crime, all the surviving children were in the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS) pending the determination of next of kin, who would assume the custody of the children.
It is sad! No one deserves to die in the hands of another no matter the family situation. Most importantly, no child deserves to lose a parent in the manner these children lost theirs.