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Nigerian Governor Criticised Over Domestic Abuse Reconciliation

Nigerians have been reacting to the action of the Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, who reconciled a woman with her husband who she accused of physically abusing her.

Ifeayinwa Angbo posted a video on social media with a bloodied face saying that her husband, who is a reporter for one of Nigeria’s most popular television channels, of assaulting her.

In the viral video, she said her six-year marriage had been filled with repeated betings and the latest incident happened just four weeks after she had given birth to their fourth child.

The video caused public outrage and Channels Television promised to investigate the matter saying it does not condone domestic violence.

But a few hours later after Channels’ statement, Governor Ortom made an effort to reconcile the couple, who live in Benue, and made Ms Angbo address journalists.

With a bruised face, she publicly declared that she forgave her husband and asked others to forgive him.

Premium Times newspaper quoted the governor saying that he did not want the couple to separate adding: “Some of us are not also innocent. As a young couple, we underwent some of these challenges in our marriage life.’’

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Mr Angbo is quoted as saying that he had apologised to his wife and promised to change. “Under no circumstances should I have hit my wife. I’m very apologetic for the action and the hurt I brought upon her,” he said.

But many have condemned what the governor has done and demanded justice. They see it as counter-productive in the campaign against domestic violence.

Activist Onyinyechi Nwachukwu told BBC News that the governor’s action sets a very bad precedent suggesting it could incite further violence against women as other perpetrators would emulate the use of reconciliation for their crimes.

‘’What he did is unlawful and an abuse of authority. Assault and battery are crimes in Nigeria, so the law should take its course. The reconciliation was done under duress because the governor capitalised on his authority.‘’

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