President Jonathan, Senator Mark, why Lt. Gen. Minimah is out of line on domestic violence issues

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, should publicly offer profound apologies to all women and girls in the nation having recently declared a militarized form of domestic threat against military personnel wives. Just a few weeks ago, while addressing soldiers of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu, he thoroughly tread on the rights of women to protest any course dear to them, such as the posting of their husbands into deadly areas of the heavily armed Islamist terror group, Boko Haram.

In a highly barbaric way, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah reportedly instructed soldiers in the following manner. "If they repeat it, all those wives will leave the barracks. This is not a civil service organization. This is not a Boy Scout organization. Any repeat of such act, I will tell soldiers to use koboko on the wives and bundle them out of the barracks."

The threat of flogging a group of Nigerian wives with a knotted rope whip, generally referred to as a koboko, is not only a completely disreputable and inappropriate behavior for an army officer in leadership, but renders the threat tantamount to the violent departure of over 200 school girls now under the abduction of Boko Haram.

For decades, the nation's females have suffered acts of deadly domestic violence from men in Nigeria. For a leader in a military system, which is highly regarded worldwide to be an institution of reputation for excellence in terms of human rights, to advocate domestic violence and abuse against women is victimization of the highest order to our young democracy.

Is this man not aware that in 2013, Nigeria passed a federal law to reduce gender- based violence? On a psychological level, the authorization to beat and disable military wives remains not only verbally and emotionally disgusting, but physically sickening, as such order could for decades and decades become a strong practice of soldiers and officers in dealing with certain behaviors of their wives and girlfriends.

The idea that wives cannot dictate how their husbands should be employed nor have a role in the Nigerian army is absolutely nonsense, as wives by nature have a much higher function within the military. They are there to provide emotional support, period.

And even if they act out, get angry and show rage on behalf of their husbands, a profession like the military should always show unequivocal commitment and sensitivity to women's issues, as they, in every and all cases, remain the emotional lifeblood that sustains the majority of our serving men.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah is supposed to command the ethos and values, as well as standards, for true leadership. As such, he should be the guiding center by personal example for his subordinates and show responsibility of character and spirit for our children, especially for the girls and boys now and our nation's future children.

Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic and Clinical Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. [email protected]

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Articles by John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D.