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Marital Infidelity: Why women have joined the men

By Yetunde Arebi
Nigerian women are the most unfaithful in the world! This is the conclusion arrived at by Durex in a survey it conducted on women across the world. The survey had interviewed 29,000 women across 36 countries of the world, including Nigerians to arrive at this. According to the report, Nigerian women scored a total of 62% to beat 35 other countries to the first position.

The survey listed Thailand women as second most unfaithful in the world after scoring 59%. Malaysian women came third with 39%. Russian women scored 33% for the fourth position while Singaporeans came fifth with 19%. Ironically, Nigerian men who are usually the butt of jokes and criticisms related to infidelity seem to have come up clean and sweet smelling like roses without any listing, according to this survey. Breast-Sucking

Durex listed Thailand men as the most unfaithful in the world with 54% of them admitting cheating on their spouses. South Korea came second with 34% and Malaysian men clinched the third position with 33%. It is not surprising that this report has become very controversial since it was released. Not a few who have heard have expressed shock and doubt about its veracity and have kicked against the authenticity of the results announced by the condom manufacturing giant.

While I have not been able to lay my hands on the actual report as released by the company, I have read several reports written on the said survey and non have answered the questions on my mind concerning this results. For instance, what category of women constituted these figures? Married women only or both married and single women? What age bracket were they? What class of women; working class, business class, housewives or unemployed? What income group? Did religion and ethnicity have any role to play in their decisions to cheat on their partners? Were they urban or rural dwellers?

All these and more would have made interesting reading and thrown more authenticity into the works. As things are, we might just have to contend ourselves with this ratings for now while those belly aching about it must also manage and keep their hair on.

For those crying wolf about the results of the survey, one of the factors that make this report look dubious is our religious tendencies. Nigerians are renowned for their doggedness when it comes to religion. Our love for religion and religious practices oftentimes tends to fanaticism and we are famous worldwide for this.

We take our religions even more seriously than those who originally owned them and initiated us into them.

In fact, in the last two decades plus, the religious explosion that has taken place, especially in Christianity and now gradually being matched by Islam is remarkable. It is almost difficult to find a street without at least a mosque and a church. We are so entrapped by religion and its practices that it has become a bane in our society and a tool for power hungry leaders to tear us apart.

With the number of crusades, night vigils, home fellowships, Qur’an and bible study classes going on daily, including during office hours, one would think that Nigerians are indeed one step behind the angels. And for such a holy people and nation, infidelity, especially on the part of married women, ought not to be found in our vocab.

Marriage is considered a very important and holy institution, attached with religious rites which prescribe chastity, submission and faithfulness for women.  At places of worship women often constitute a larger percentage of the congregation and the success of their marriages and children often top their list of prayer points, so, one may rightly conclude that infidelity ought to be a foreign lingo in the Nigerian society. This is perhaps, why some people find it difficult to accept this rating.


Some Nigerians have also opined that culture and tradition play a huge role in shaping the character and life of the African woman, and indeed, the Nigerian woman. Young unmarried girls are expected to remain virgins, untasted, untested, until the wedding night. And though this is now more or less an illusion than reality, many young brides still love to give this impression to their parents, in-laws and the general public, with the exception of the conspicuously pregnant ones anyway. Once married also, a woman is forbidden by tradition and culture to stray outside her marital bed for sex.

She must remain faithful to her marital vows. In fact, many cultures have, as part of the wedding rites, oath taking rituals performed on the woman, forcing her to remain sexually faithful to her husband. Depending on the culture of a particular society, it is believed that there are grave consequences and even death, for either of the partners, once the woman violates these oaths.   Female circumcision otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation is another method of ensuring that female sexual urges and desires are curbed, therefore preserving women only for their husbands.

Marriage is a very serious institution in Africa. For the woman, it is expected to be a lifelong venture at all cost, even when the men have run off to chase other women, oftentimes, younger and more beautiful. Extra marital affairs on the part of women are taboo and under no circumstance are there justifications for them. Once caught, a woman often loses all respect and privileges offered by the marriage, and risks bringing shame upon her children and family.

Infidelity often means the end of the union. It is therefore believed that an African woman, would think twice before pulling up her skirt for a man other than her husband. And so, the doubting Thomases, are convinced that the Durex survey report is therefore not very accurate about Nigerian women.

Unfortunately, there are many who also consider the above as merely facts and not necessarily the truth about the Nigerian society. They say these are just window dressing in a bid to cover up the canker worms that have eaten deep into our flesh as a people. Just as there are those calling the Durex survey a hoax, there are others who believe that it is highly probable, going by the reality of events happening in our society. If the survey is not accurate, it may also not be far from the truth.

And many factors may be responsible for this position also. Beginning from the failure of government to provide adequate and functional social infrastructure for the people, to the tumbling of moral and social values among the people, high rate of unemployment and poverty level of the people, education, exposure and male-female equality and the explosion of information and communication technology courtesy of the internet, may have all added up to quietly providing a new orientation and persona for the Nigerian woman.

There is no doubt that Nigerians are religious. In fact, it might not be out of place to say that we live, sleep, wake, speak, eat and drink religion. Hardly would you find a Nigerian who does not belong to a particular religion and makes no bones trying to hide whatever we profess to have. In Nigeria, our religion is hardly a personal conviction and fear of God.   It is a weapon, a tool and bargaining chip for both the religious leaders and their followers. Nigerians they say, wear their religion on their faces, like identity cards, they tell the world of our membership and dedication with perceived hope of benefiting something from it.

Unfortunately, our acclaimed religious practices have little or no positive reflection on our society. If anything, it has only helped to polarise and divide us further, promoting distrust and disaffection in our society, while a few feed fat on the gains. Nigeria’s high rate of corruption at all levels of government and private sector and continued dwindling religious, societal and moral values, have caused critics to ask questions on the true state of religious practices in Nigeria.

They insist that if we are as religious as we profess and uphold the tenets and teachings of our religions, in truth and in the fear of God, should this not reflect positively on our society? Given the situation therefore, it is either the teachings are faulty or the practitioners are unfaithful, paying only eye service to society and lip service to religious teachings. The evidence of these abound everywhere one turns. Judgment according to God, will begin in His house!

It is an open secret that money is the wheel for the propagation of salvation. Money is required to propagate the spread of religious teachings. So, the religious groups solicit members for donations, tithes and offerings. The more money an individual brings, the more respect and recognition he is accorded. No one questions the source of the money as long as it has been given to God. Many highly placed officials in both government and private sector embezzle and misappropriate funds in their trust, giving percentages of it to religious organisations and the leaders accept without batting an eyelid.

The classic case of late Pastor Timothy Olusegun Akanni, a former Director, Special Projects with the Independent National Electoral Commission, Abuja, and a Pastor of the Redeemed Church of God, Abuja, who died in the Bellview plane crash in September, 2006, will forever remain fresh in the minds of many Nigerians. He was subsequently known as the man who was richer than his employers, when a staggering N7billion was traced to his name. He had earlier been described as an upright, honest, dedicated man of high integrity by his employers and colleagues until the lid was blown off his facade by his warring wives.

Are you surprised at the word wives? Until his untimely demise, little did anyone, including his legally married wife and mother of an only child, know of the existence of a second wife tucked away in another State who also bore him children. Pastor Akanni who took to the pulpit every Sunday to preach the word of God, admonishing and condemning sin and sinners had not only taken another woman to be by his left side (strange woman)but also married her legally at the Registry, thereby committing Bigamy, punishable by law with a maximum of seven years jail term.

The inability of the two women to reconcile their differences and agree on a sharing formula for their husband’s acquired wealth, caused an investigation into his assets by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). He was accused of various weighty offences touching on conspiracy, abuse of public office, diversion of public funds as well as money laundering.

The federal government eventually confiscated everything traced to Pastor Akanni name, including cash in local and foreign currencies, landed properties in choice areas in Lagos and Abuja, shares in Bluechip companies, registered schools, bakeries and expensive luxury cars among other items. His “religious” women as well as Akanni’s family members who had hitherto, been divided by the stupendous wealth of their kinsmen and had pitched tents behind each of the women, lost everything to the federal government. These were religious men and women by all Nigerian standards.

The story of Pastor Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (aka Reverend King), the former General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly is another high profile case on the nefarious, anti social behaviours of some men of God in the Nigeria society.

Rev. King was also in September 2006 arraigned on six counts of attempted murder and murder, having been accused of allegedly pouring petrol on six members of his congregation whom he’d accused of committing fornication with other female members, then set them ablaze. The General Overseer who was also alleged to have regular sexual relationships with both married and single women in the church has since been sentenced to death by Justice Joseph Oyewole of the Lagos High court with subsequent appeal also upheld.

Sometime last year, a Prophet with a white garment church in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos was caught pants down in bed with a married member of the congregation, right on the woman’s matrimonial bed. The suspicious husband, assisted by their neighbours had laid a trap for the cheating lovers which they walked into. The duo were thoroughly disgraced and paraded naked in the neighbourhood and on social media.

Mrs. Lateefat Oyeniyi, hair stylist and mother of two, recounting her experience in an interview with Saturday Vanguard revealed why she stopped going to offer prayers at a neighbourhood Mosque. According to her, prior to her encounter with the Alfa, she had always thought of him as a very honourable servant of God, who gave spiritual consultations to many. So she’d thought nothing was amiss when he’d requested for her telephone number after she’d enrolled her child at his Qur’anic school.

She was surprised a few days later when she got a text message containing a recharge card from the Alfa on her phone. He called a few seconds after to confirm if she had received his message and kind gesture. When she asked what the gift was for, he told her it was to mark the beginning of their new relationship and she should expect more of such from him if things went well between them.

An avalanche of N1000 recharge cards came her way for several weeks until one day, he called and asked her to come and see him at his consulting room in the Mosque compound. At the meeting, Alfa poured his heart out to this wife and mother, insisting he was prepared to take her as wife number two as he was acting on a directive from God. She should go and think about it and he would keep in touch. Confused, she confided in another female member all that had transpired between herself and Alfa. What the woman told her convinced her that the Alfa’s case was beyond redemption and she ought to take steps to stop him to avoid trouble. Alfa was not new to the game and had a track record with women who approached him for spiritual consultation.

The lady promptly told her husband and together with another married man and a Police Officer met with Alfa. The family stopped worshiping at the mosque and removed their daughter from his lesson.  If this family was lucky, not so for some other families of Vineyard Ministry of the Holy Trinity, Enugu State.

The pastor, 53 year old Timothy Ngwu claimed he receives regular directives from God to sleep with members of his congregation, regardless of their married status. In fact, before having sex with the married women, he would sometimes seek the approval of their husbands who in turn hand them over to him. By the time Veronica, his legal wife, ratted him out to the Police, he’d impregnated a total of 20 women, including a mother and her daughter which caused the ire of his wife.

If the Pastor was mad, what of the men who gave him their wives on a platter of gold? Religion, therefore has very little or no positive impact on many Nigerians and could therefore not be cited as reason to discredit the Durex survey.

Just as religion did not prevent all the above mentioned people from engaging in ungodly activities, the same goes for culture and tradition. According to a source who hails from South-South Nigeria, “the efficacy of these marriage rites and rituals are now very doubtful.

Hardly do you find people going to the shrines and subjecting themselves to such things in the name of traditional marriage any more. Even back in the olden days, it was just a myth to maintain law and order in the society.

Though there might have been a few cases of people getting caught and punished, they were usually performed on specific targets. Even then, the woman would have been warned and notified that such a thing was going to be applied on her.” This same logic applies to the lacing of “magun”, a potent Yoruba traditional medicine designed for curbing infidelity among married women.

There are several types of magun but they all have the same mission, to expose or kill the trespassing male lover.  Once laid on the path of a woman suspected of cheating and she crosses over it, she becomes laced and the first male that mates with her falls victim. The catch here is that a waiting period of a specific number of days is given for the husband to abstain from sex with his laced wife, so that she would go to the targeted lover.

If the husband is no longer interested in the marriage and wishes to expose his wife as an adulterer, he laces her with an instant magun, otherwise, the reaction is delayed for a few hours to allow the woman leave the scene. However, there have been several cases of magun gone wrong, where the legal husbands end up being victims. Back in the mid ’80s in Ijanikin, in rural Ojo Local government of Lagos State, a local man who suspected his friend was having an affair with his wife, laced her with magun.

On her return back home on the day he’d suspected the lovers would have had their rendezvous, he’d slept with his wife, believing she’d been freed of the potency, only to fall victim of his evil plan. His wife insisted there was no sexual relationship between herself and her husband’s friend.

The evil deed had however been done. In this same vain, innocent women have also been known to have died after being laced with magun by their extremely jealous husbands.  Today, the efficacy of magun in dealing with suspected rivals has been greatly undermined. Many philandering men versed in the knowledge of local charms and amulets now possess the antidotes and do apply when required. This breakthrough has no doubt increased the confidence of many women in the game of adultery.

Besides, it is a fact that such practices are now regarded as archaic, heathen and against modern religious practices and Nigerians no longer wish to openly associate with such.  We must also not forget the fact that female genital circumcision is no longer widely accepted or practiced in our society and is even now considered a crime in many States of the federation.

So, of how much impact is culture and tradition on the sexuality of the average Nigerian woman?

The socio-economic problems of the nation has affected many individuals and homes irreparably. The high rate of unemployment and lack of basic amenities and social infrastructures have caused much damage to the psyche of the average Nigerian. A situation where citizens have to provide almost everything for themselves which ought to be provided by government, results in too much pressure on the people. Many would therefore do anything to make ends meet or cut corners for the sake of survival.

Our dwindling moral and social values, as well as our great love for material wealth has helped to create a society wherein almost anything is acceptable for survival reasons. Hunger has no gender and many upright people have been known to crumble or lower their standards in the face of economic challenges. In fact, the World Health Organisation and United Nations Economic and Social… have at various times in their numerous submissions, cited economic hardship as a factor for high rate of promiscuity, especially in Africa and Sub-Saharan societies.

More than ever before, more women have joined the work force and are not limited to the stereotyping of old where they are either teachers, Nurses or Secretaries. Women can now be found in any field or profession, many standing tall to the men while some others adopt “below the belt” methods to get their way. Allegations of “sex for job, sex for promotion” etc are common in the work place, including cat fights among the women. It is therefore not a secret that many men prefer that their wives either own their businesses or stay at home to tend to the children.

Around mid 2012, nude pictures of a young married woman were leaked unto the internet by an angry lover seeking his pound of flesh. According to the accompanied story on the blog which was brought down shortly after the release, he’d recently discovered that he was not the only guy eating out of the forbidden vineyard. A senior colleague was also partaking of the illegal meals. To assuage his anger and bruised ego, he decided to open his lover’s can of worms in the public domain.

The pictures showed the mother of one in various stages and poses of nudity taken at both the office and what seemed like a private room. Rumour has it that the lady had since absconded to reside in Ghana. Before this incident, another young lady had been caught in the web of extra marital scandal when pictures of a hot romantic weekend with a senior male colleague at her office was loaded on the internet.  This time around, it was a case of a misplaced memory card from the love birds’ camera that let the cat out of the bag.

The couple had told their respective partners and those who may care to ask that they were going for a seminar.   Indeed, the internet is agog with leaked stories of sexual escapades by married women in extra marital relationships, many busted by their legal partners or people close to them.   Closely related to this is preference for the female sex for certain jobs, especially Banking, Public Relations and Marketing where women have been known to do things other than the official to get the job done. In fact, Mr. Raji Fashola, Governor of Lagos State in an address delivered at the Bankers’ Institute sometime ago, advised against setting unrealistic targets for female bankers.

Though hard to believe, some husbands are sometimes forced to look the other while their wives carry on discreetly or tardily with other men. This is often associated with economic survival and/or quest for power, including political power.

Many women who have had to make exceptional sacrifices and contributions, sometimes even spiritually towards the success of their partner’s careers are sometimes guilty. Late one night, about 11 plus years ago in Iju area of Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State, a man while beating his wife for returning home late from work, accused her of infidelity. He called her a prostitute and insisted that she had broken her marital vows with several men and he was tired of the marriage.

The wife in turn called him a cheap liar who was not worthy to be called a man. She told the crowd that had gathered she had done nothing without his consent while he was out of job. He was only crying wolf now because he had found a job after many years of sitting at home while she took care of him and their three children.

Contrary to general belief, not all marriages are happy. Not all couples are in love with each other or love each other. These could be catalysts for infidelity. Other reasons for infidelity by married women may also include abuse, emotional disconnect, neglect, lack of sexual satisfaction and general incompatibility.

However, critics opine that the most contemporary of the factors may be linked to the present state of communication and information technology. Prior to the turn of the millennium and most probably the advent of GSM which brought mobile telephony and a whole world of communication possibilities to the hands of the ordinary man, infidelity was considered more of a male lingo and perhaps society’s wayward single women stock in trade.

Today, sex and sexuality is now on display almost everywhere you turn. The media is agog with sexually tainted messages, just as pornography and all shades of sexual contents are being passed among individuals with relish, regardless of marital status. All these are perceived to stimulate illicit sexual desires or even influence individuals negatively. If all these facts provide reasons for possible infidelity among married women, then are they not being caught in their hundreds? Or is it possible that they have perfected their acts and know how to hide their secrets from the condemning eyes? After all the consequences of getting caught are grave.

Though considered the weaker sex, women are known for their strength of character, wit and canny nature.   Perhaps, a story purportedly from the Hadith, about the conducts of an adulterous woman captures all there is to know about how crafty women can be in protecting themselves and their secrets.  A husband got wind about his wife’s adulterous activities with a certain man whenever he was out.

As expected, she denied and a date for her trial was fixed. She would be swearing in the presence of all that no other man besides her husband had ever seen her nakedness.   However on the way to the venue of the sentencing, the woman had arranged with her lover to wait for her on top of a particular tree en-route their destination. On arriving the planned spot, this woman sought permission from her husband to ease herself and swiftly went on to remove her clothes. As soon as she was done, the man in the tree jumped down to behold her nakedness, technically making him the second man, to her see naked body and in the presence of her husband too.

Her accusers were happy when they saw all three of them together, they could use one stone to kill two birds, they thought. But the crafty woman played her joker just then. As she swore her defence, she claimed that only her husband and the man who came down from the tree had seen her nakedness. The husband confirmed that she spoke the truth.   She was acquitted.



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