Widowhood in Nigeria, particularly in the southeast, is a very difficult status to bear.
The burden becomes even more de-humanising when the widow is poor, has no children, has small children or have children who are up to very little good.
In some cases, these widows are accorded so little value that almost anything else is more valuable to her community than she is.
This is the current reality of a widow from Agunese Affam-Mmaku Community in Agwu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
This poor woman must have woken up in the morning of her daytime nightmare feeling just the same as always. Like everyone else in these times of crunching hardship, she must have wondered where to get her next meal.
This being the wet season, a lightbulb may have gone off in her head and her eureka moment sold her an idea that would end up turning her world upsidedown for no fault of hers.
She went into the bush, gathered wild snails into her basket, lifted it upon her head and turned around to head home happy. She must have made a rough calculation in her head of how much money she would earn from selling the snails and what she would do with the money. Possibly buy food to stay alive.
Imagine her rude shock when she was halted in her tracks with shouting from a bunch of young and middle-aged men with blood lust in their eyes and a lust for something else in their hearts.
I cannot imagine what must have been going through this woman’s head as these sorry excuses for men pounced on her.
This was when the widow’s daytime nightmare took wings and speedily escalated. She must have watched in horror as they stripped her stark naked and paraded her on the streets.
To make matters worse, the colony of mad men made a belt and a necklace of young palm fronds which they hung around her neck and her waist.
Although she tried to put up a brave face and preserve whatever was left of her dignity, one can only imagine how terrified she must have been.
You might wonder how come I am able to give such a vivid description. It is because I watched the show of shame on video.
Yes! Someone videoed this heinous crime against all that is human and holy. Now it is all over the internet.
Perhaps you are also wondering what that poor woman did to deserve this humiliation.
She picked wild snails in a bush deemed to be sacred land.
I know most of you would be dumbfounded. I can only ask that you avoid hurting your brain in an attempt to understand that which is incomprehensible.
By the way, what is the deal with the southeast and women’s nudity? This is one public stripping too many. How does the nudity of this woman appease whichever gods that land was devoted to? Do local community gods now enjoy female nudity? Doesn’t this speak more to the depravity of the evil ones who accosted her than to service of the gods?
Speaking of the culprits, how is it that young men who are well and whole sit around waiting to strip women naked during work hours to appease their community gods?
The Enugu state governor’s wife and all women leaders from and in Enugu must not let this slide. These purveyors of female nudity must not be allowed to get away with this.
Justice for this widow is justice for all women. We have all been stripped and humiliated. We must not let it slide.
Finally, this incessant stripping of women in the southeast must be addressed. Enough is enough. We are not objects to be publicly stripped and ogled for the flimsiest of reasons.