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Money Matters with Nimi: Are You in a Financially Abusive Relationship?



Couple FightingFinancial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but in in general, include tactics to limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances.” – Source

Financial abuse is a form of abuse that is rarely discussed, as it can be so subtle, that is often hidden behind the veil of what might seem to be a “normal” relationship. Because of the embarrassment caused by this form of abuse, women in this situation seldom talk about it. Who would want to admit to having to account for every single kobo spent, or having to ask for money even to purchase the most personal of necessities? Financial abuse has discernible signs. Here are some of them:

Control of career choices
Women in financially abusive relationships are often forced to follow a career path chosen for them by their spouse or partner, as opposed to what they desire for themselves. This is a form of control that keeps them from achieving financial stability and independence. Women in these situations tend to be stay-at-home moms or if they are permitted to work, it is only with the express permission of their spouses. Often, as a woman begins to make some progress in her career, she is given an ultimatum and forced to give up her job. Her spouse is much more comfortable for her to be in a job that is not a true reflection of her educational background, her intellect or her experience.

Account for every kobo spent, or else…
A woman in such a relationship must account for every kobo that she spends. She must write a detailed list and provide receipts or evidence of all that she has purchased for the family; there is seldom anything left for herself. If she fails to account for everything, there could be unpleasant consequences. This may involve being given less money for even the most basic necessities, or she will have to beg for money, or worse. It becomes far easier to be extra careful with the meager house keeping allowance she receives, and forfeit the hope of any niceties, than to face what could be dire consequences.

No personal bank accounts permitted
The woman must rely on her spouse or partner for her very existence. She is not allowed to have a bank account, a debit card or any access to money. She can receive calls on her mobile phone but seldom has credit to be able to make any calls to reach the outside world. She has no savings whatsoever, no money at all. She is totally dependent and must rely upon her spouse to make all financial decisions that affect both her and her children both now and in the future.

Not allowed to work
She is not allowed to work from home or to run a small business. Working friends or those with businesses are discouraged from visiting her home as they are considered a bad influence. Her movements outside the house is carefully monitored by staff, including the driver hired by her husband; this ensures that she does not visit people that are not pre-approved.

She works but must submit all her income to him
If she has a job, her entire salary must go to her husband or partner who credits the funds into a separate account that she is not a signatory to. She must submit a list of everything that she needs which he will carefully scrutinize and determine what he will part with. The stipend that she is given seldom covers all that she needs to take care of herself and her children.

She is the sole breadwinner
Interestingly even women that are the sole breadwinners in a household can be financially abused. The men in these relationships control all aspects of the family finances. Even though they do not earn, they are in charge of all the money coming into the home. As she is responsible for all the family finances including rent, school fees, etc., she works non-stop to keep the money coming in and to give her family the best possible chance.

Threat of abandonment
Threatening to leave or denying financial support, knowing fully well that the woman has no money of her own, is another form of abuse. Control is established, as the women will comply due to fear that her daily needs will not be met. So, she just continues to “behave” under the shadow of her deep-seated fears of being made destitute, if she dares to step out of line.

A child a year
In this situation, the woman is permanently pregnant which makes it impossible for her to return to work particularly when her posse of children increases and it becomes difficult to afford adequate childcare. Her life’s work is thus laid out for her: she must take care of her family and may never know what financial independence means.

Are you or someone close to you in a similar situation? Even though the above sounds dire, here are a few ideas to consider.

  • Education empowers. There are many excellent on line courses that will keep your mind active and improve your skills from the confines of your home. Friends or relations may be willing and able to assist with the enrollment fee since you have no money.
  • If you receive some housekeeping allowance perhaps you can try to save some of it. It will seem that there is nothing left but with careful budgeting, you can prioritize and try to save something. Every little bit adds up as you start to build savings.
  • Even if you aren’t allowed to earn an income, volunteering will help to give you a sense of fulfillment and give more meaning and purpose to your life.
  • This is a time to identify your skills, talents…those skills that have been buried over the years; this is the time to revive them. Identify them, nurture them, invest in them and eventually you will be able to leverage on them to begin to earn some income.
  • Assuming communication and counseling have been explored, and particularly if the financial abuse is accompanied by physical abuse, you must seriously consider leaving, but with a plan. Close family, friends, and your local church or mosque may be able to provide some short-term support until you are back on your feet.

“Africa’s greatest untapped resource”

The failure of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill to get past the second reading in the Nigerian senate this month came as a rude shock, particularly as it coincided with Women’s Month when the world unites in acknowledging the extraordinary achievements of women and announced the “Pledge for Parity.”

By Pledging for Parity, we move from talk to purposeful action. Each one of us can pledge to take concrete steps as leaders in our own spheres of influence to help to accelerate gender parity. This could be by helping women and the girl child to achieve their ambitions, developing more inclusive cultures, and doing away with any work place biases.

With both men and women joining forces, we can collectively help women to realize the limitless potential that they offer economies the world over. When you empower a woman, you empower not just the individual, but you empower her children, her family, her community and her country.

Photo CreditNsoedo Frank /

Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.


  1. OJ

    March 29, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    If at all there’s any woman in that fits the narrative as described above (i doubt anyway, after all they all claim miss financially independent/strong-black woman blah blah blah) then u are on your own… had the choice, you made a choice and you threw caution to the wind….FYI, a lot women have refused to work, hence, everything you highlighted above is what we men go through every blessed day in different shades and colors ”go and work, i dont want to work, i want my independence, dont want to be under anybody”….dem all want free money at the end of the day

    • Bianca

      March 29, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      @OJ Im really sorry for you. I hope the good Lord touches your heart and makes you see the truth of kindness and compassion. By the grace of God, one day the scales will fall from your eyes and you will appreciate more what your mum did for you and what many women in countries like Nigeria go through everyday. God bless you

    • OJ

      March 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Trolling me i see…..someone’s gonna hate

  2. Anonymous

    March 29, 2016 at 1:32 pm


  3. Jagbajantis

    March 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Informative post, but a bit lopsided. Financial abuse goes both ways. I agree that many a times wives seem to get a short end of the stick, but there are also instances where husbands have been put under the cosh by wives who are financial tyrants.

    I will give a few examples:

    – Keeping a separate hidden stash of savings, and not making it available to the man/family during tight times, as a way of exerting control or punishing the husband

    – Inflating the house-hold needs arbitrarily in order to extort money from the husband so that you can spend on frivolities like designer handbags, expensive wigs and ostentatious articles.

    – Refusing to work even if part-time even when the kids are now in boarding school or at an age where it is possible for wife to bring in income to help the family. Staying at home and watching Africa Magic and reading BN from sun up to sun down, even if the couple do not have kids.

    – Unrealistic expectations., like pressurizing the man to do anything to maintain a previous lifestyle, by an means necessary to “meet up” with wife’s unrealistic lifestyle. Even if this means doing 419, fraud or petty crime.

    – She works but keeps all her income to herself, and refuses to apply it for the common good of the home; expecting the man to carry every single expense even at the pain of death. “What is yours is ours, but what is mine is mine.”

    • Balance

      March 29, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I saw the picture and thought this will be a balanced article however it only addresses the issues of women. Thank you.

    • Regina

      March 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      I love posts like this, because of course no matter the preponderance of evidence that women are most likely to suffer from abuse, someone, somewhere must say that men also suffer from their own kind of abuse and say the instances are equal. THEY ARE NOT.

      In your scenarios, one fact still remains―the man still earns majority of the cash and makes the decision to hand over to his partner. He doesn’t fear physical abuse, because women don’t physically beat (stab, burn, what have you) their husband to death, or so severely they lose their ability to birth children (these situations happen to women. A lot.).

      I LOVE this image you’ve painted of a guy cowering in the corner committing crime just to hand over the money to his wife; it’s simply untrue. spousal motivation is at the bottom of the pile when it comes to Nigerian men committing crime to gain wealth. Anecdotally, men are more likely to get into crime in order to acquire perceived trophies: a beautiful partner, cars, mansions,travel etc.


      Women are overwhelmingly more likely to face this abuse, so GTFOH with the sexist “Women are just as bad!” BS. It is not true.

    • Jagbajantis

      March 29, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Oh hold your horses sunshine. Who pissed inside your Golden Morn this early morning?

      Re-read my comment. I never claimed circumstances were equal between genders. I pointed out that there are more instances of financial abuse by wives than the writer cared to point out. An article of this nature, on a forum like this, should also project a view from the other side, so that it helps everyone. Look at the photo used for the article. Who is cowering from abuse there? Now cross-reference the photo with what you read in the article, and you would see a click bait “man bashing” article which wont help anyone.

      As I pointed out, women do get the short bit of the stick most of the time. But not all the time! There are foul women too!

      I am not able to go through the points you raised one by one to offer a rebuttal, as you seemed to go off on a tangent far from my views. So on a frolick of your own, you journey.

      I do agree there are many cases of physical abuse, though we conveniently ignore the emotional abuse/blackmail certain females exert on men to bend them to their will. As this is an article on financial abuse, I decided to stick to the narrative, and my points still stand. And I will have you know that many times women/wives prompt their spouses/partners to go into illicit ventures to make money to either keep up a lifestyle or keep up with the Jonezes. Men by own nature are very simple creatures. We just want to eat, sleep, fuck, watch footie. Many times women pressure men to hustle and this could be a positive or bad influence depending on the woman’s moral character (and the man’s own too).

    • Regina

      March 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Can’t reply to you directly, @jagbajantis. Who pissed in my cereal? People like you who insist that “women do it too!” belongs in every conversation about the harm women face at the hands of men in their lives, in order to feel better about themselves, and undermine the conversation going on. THIS conversation is about WOMEN and the abuse they face.

      Go write your own piece about the less than (at most!) 10% of cases of domestic abuse against men (who are paid more for equitable work, are more likely to be in leadership/get promoted, are rarely sexually harassed ANYWHERE, are not pressured societally to obey their partner as the head of household, are generally believed and respected when they speak―married or not…I could go on) under which thus conversation falls.

    • Surely

      March 30, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Regina has sense. Jagbajantis is as jagbajantis does.

  4. Omagold

    March 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    True! I was made to itemize what i spent my salary on and he could use my atm card at his will… Thank God for liberation#submissionwentwrong

  5. 50 shades of Abuse

    March 29, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I remember how I used to have to write a list of everything I had to buy just so I could get N3000 for monthly allowance from the wonderful ‘husband’. Thank GOD for delivering me from abuse.

  6. Very high

    March 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Oh, see these feminists shouting equality still talking financial abuse

    You girls dont know what you want.

    Financial abuse how? My friend if you claim equality, you shouldnt be looking up to me for anything whatsoever. Financial abuse here presupposes that you are waiting for me to give you money for some stuffs

    They will come out saying men are stingy. What does stingy mean? You mean you expect financial favours from your equals? You are very high on sk

    Yall should GTFOH. Gerrahere mehn

    You cant have your cake and still eat it at the same time.

  7. My case

    March 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I have been financially abused for 5 years now.Even a phone he refuses to buy,The story is long
    But thank God i have gone for some interviews without his knowledge
    Something positive is happening soon in my life

    • Your case

      March 29, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Even a phone he refused to buy”
      Y’all will be coming out one after the other

      Hope he bought your pants, bra, slippers, brush, toothpaste, salt, maggi…

      If you no get small shame, me i am ashamed for you.

      Later yall will come shouting independent woman, equality bla bla bla

    • My case

      March 29, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      If my hubby cannot get an unemployed wife a phone then who should?
      My pastor?
      Go and sleep on your 6 inch bed

    • Your case

      March 30, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Why did you marry without a job?
      can you marry a man without a job?
      shut up there and stop validating nonsesnse
      shebi its equality

    • Profound

      March 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      @Your case – Why do you need to be so unkind to @my case? She voiced her fears/concerns and you chose to humiliate her.

      @My case – I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I’m glad things are looking up for you. I wish you all the very best in the future, Take care and God bless.

  8. Money

    March 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    You are a feminist my friend
    F.A is not just a women thing

    Women crying foul since 19gbogboro
    Everything is just an issue

    Equality on one hand, wanting the man to spend on them on the other hand
    ctrl+shift jo

    • californiabawlar

      March 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      I swear I thought the article was going to be about how Nigerian women financially abuse the men in their lives!

    • Md

      March 29, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      It was a bait dude, it is just the normal man hating , man bashing article on BN…I swear uche Eze is a genius for creating a platform for gullible lonely bitter women to rant while she chill with her husband and children

  9. Spicey

    March 29, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    @OJ, Firstly, what would you say to a guy who rely on his wife/ fiancée for everything? secondly, the guy has refused to work, hiding under ”I don’t want to work for/under anybody” for years and he’s been on this for like 6years of which he’s not making head even with business. Thirdly, he’s planning his wedding with fiancée and no kobo in his account, family is not even ready to support him cos he’s proved too stubborn to them in the course of advising him to get a job. Pls what would you advice such guy as the babe don dey tire for the relationship sef.

    • anony

      March 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Spicey, i suppose your umbilical cord was not tied to this guy. If he isnt ready, move on na. Must you die there? Later you will come crying on Aunty Bella. You know what to do already so do it fast!

    • OJ

      March 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      stop looking for an excuse to justify the writer’s claim. the scenarior u painted is more common with u ladies. u can answer the question urself, after all its ur choice if u wana marry a lazy ass man

    • nene

      March 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm


    • nene

      March 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      biko who sent u to such a man? is it jazz? abeg leave the relationship.

  10. Dee

    March 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    He never wanted to bring me into his finances from day one. Not even to tell me how much our rent was. I was free with info about my earning.I tried to be involved, knowing he hardly made good bargains but he saw as me being controlling. How much more asking him how much he earned. That one was a taboo. So I just chilled and maintained my lane.

    So then I got a better job. I was still open about what I earned. Infact I was already planning for us to discuss our housing plan. Next he turns round saying he needs to see my pay slip just to be completely sure else there will be no peace in the house! How it will promote financial transparency in our marriage. He just suddenly suddenly realized the need when he felt I had a better job? He went as far as saying he needs to know when I start collecting money from men! Men I was mad!

    Now with me, force is a NO NO. So I refused. I fought against it, and when I saw that it was robing me of my peace I gave in. So he sent his pay slip, I grudgingly looked and replied with mine. But guess what?

    For each allowance I divided into 3! and presented 1 share. (eg.. transport allowance is 100k, I will present it as 33k making sure that his own submission was bigger) Sebi wisdom is profitable to direct abi? Guess what his response was?” hmmmm your salary is not as much as I thought sef” So this was all complex???Chai!

    You see, I am one person who doesn’t like to hide things from hubby no matter how people think its okay. Bu the fact that he only decided to become transparent out of greed shocked me to my marrow.

    • Natu

      March 29, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      hmmmm your salary is not as much as I thought sef” lol your hubby is so insecure. How can you claim to love another but yet frown at their success. Love is not proud , selfish, jealous or egoistic. Your hubby should celebrate your achievement. Your success is his success but I guess he is too African to see that. Yikes!!! May the good lord never send me such suitors because my thirst for excellence is just too real. I can’t afford to be with an insecure partner.

    • Right

      March 29, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Natu I respect some of your views but I dislike your generalisation of Africa. Please try and stop the generalisation of African men and women. We are not the same we only share a continent. Continue being cool. Cheers.

    • Natu

      March 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      @Right if this stereotype/generalisation do not apply to you, why then are you offended. The truth is most African men are intimidated by successful women. This may not apply to you particularly but the truth is this is the case for most African men.

    • Right

      March 29, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Well you are right about most, or a large portion of Africans however generalisation is wrong. It doesn’t have to apply to me before I speak out. Just like how the whites and black have wrong stereotypes about each other which is not right.

    • M

      March 30, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Your story shows that one should never compromise on values / character especially when marriage is concerned or aimed at…. Now see your trouble. Please remember one thing though: 2 wrongs can never make a right. A word is enough for the wise

    • M

      March 30, 2016 at 10:01 am

      My comment was a reply @Dee. Don’t know why it ended elsewhere….
      Pls BN fix your website incl. other options e.g. like/unlike buttons, delete own comment….etc

  11. Anonymous

    March 29, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    The wailers are out and about. Oya voltrons get in here quick and dissect. Nigerian men are a special breed. To weak to make a comment.

  12. nene

    March 29, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    but men can also be in such relationships. its not all about women all the time. on this particular topic, i think more men are in abusive relationships than women.

    • Comprehension and wisdom are key skills

      March 29, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      @nene jagabantis oj and co If you want to defend and fight for Nigerian men-Angels so bad, write your own article
      You people KNOW that this article was written for women in SPECIFIC instances of financial abuse
      It’s a bad thing for a man to provide money for the house and food he lives in and eats from?

      Would you go to a Cancer talk and complain that “what of AIDS? People die from AIDS too!”

      Common ladies and gentlemen, you can do better.

  13. Paul Babalola

    March 29, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Another frustrated feminist on the prowl. No single day will pass that these old cargoes will not spew their venom on Nigeria men. Go and marry Oyinbo man and let us rest. Bunch of spinsters who can not get any good Naija man to marry bcos they are bloody arrogant. Preaching equality but keeping their salary to themselves and telling the man it’s his responsibility to take care of the family. The same man they want to divide house chores with, awon ashiere. Thank God, 95% of theses frustrated feminist are in the diaspora, Naija man won’t even look your face there, Naija man go prefer Philipino, Haitian etc who will respect and take care of him. Oyinbo man who lives the kind of life you fantasise in your would be husband won’t even look your side because to him you are a black monkey. Naija man dey flex, keep abusing him, we don see you at the age of 42 still looking for your dream man that will give you all his salary and do 95% of house chores. Bunch of unrealistic buttons, don’t corrupt our Naija based women with your stupid fantasy.

    • Me

      March 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      So much hate man, so much hate! #whobeatyousef

    • Pompey

      March 30, 2016 at 1:42 am

      Lol! Paul the saddo came out to play !!!

    • Mungo Park Paul

      March 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Ode. Aunty Nimi is married with kids.

    • Md

      March 29, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Actually black women are the easiest to sleep with oversea because of thire insecurities..they are passed around in offices like coffee, all u need to do is to say nice things about them and they will follow you..insecure set ofmpeople, men of all races regard them as easy pus****

    • Huh

      March 30, 2016 at 10:47 am

      You must sick in the head! I have met successful black women in Shell, Kpmg, BNP etc in the UK with successful relationships so I wonder the kind of “office” you work in where black women are passed around. Anuofia. Everyone will be claiming to be somebody online.

    • Huh

      March 30, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      *must be

    • Md

      March 30, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Truth hurts…actually those women in big companies as you mentioned are actually the easiest to use..white women won’t allow it and will sue you ass but black women nah, just call her a black ebony queen ( even though she looks a baboon on weaves) and she will open her legs for you…seen it happen over and over again

    • Huh

      March 30, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Your inferiority complex is shouting out loud here. Poor you. Pele

    • Huh

      March 30, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      You are talking about “easiest to use”, you clearly didn’t read where I mentioned these girls are in successful relationships with guys in great careers as well. Anyway, it is clear the kind of circle you roll in so no point replying you further. Good luck with getting rid of your complex.

  14. Vann

    March 29, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    It’s just that we saw the picture and thought the writer will write on how financial abuse affects both genders. It’s not that hard to comprehend.

  15. Niyoola

    March 29, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Okay, we’ve heard; men also go through the same, okay.

    Lets have a healthy and informative discussion on the things she highlighted/share your experiences, especially guys going through such to educate us better.

    How is this about feminist bashing though? smh, lots of dullards are camping on BN

  16. Niyoola

    March 29, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    See, if your husband tells you to quit your job because:
    1. he can afford to cater for family without your financial input
    2. Needs you home with kids
    3. Wants you to stop formal employment and open shop (not business o, shop) at bee bee lo,
    Please apply wisdom. Don’t fall for it, it’s a set up and can only end badly, especially for you.

  17. Mzphunby

    March 30, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Financial abuse is real! My mum has been going through it for more than 20 years now and even we the children are also affected. It is compulsory to write a list before you go to and market and after you get back showing all d food stuff that was bought, a list must be written before you going shopping for Second hand clothes and shown after. Any attempt for my mum to move forward in her business always starts a fight, and for peace 2 reign she has to forgo it, has to resign from jobs , u have to be on your best behaviour if u want ur school feel to be paid.. 25 years of financial, emotional and verbal abuse. Financial abuse is real!

  18. zeebaby

    March 31, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Yes, financial abuse is real on both gender. Scenario 1. My cousin married his young bride straight from SS3. He promised her poor family to train her thru higher institution. Of course he never did. He drops pocket money of 1k for her n two kids when travelling for weekend with his babes. Little wife cries all d time. He sent her to d village for a whole year cos she dared to complain. She had beg n pray hard b4 bn allowed to return to lagos.

  19. zeebaby

    March 31, 2016 at 4:35 am

    Scenario 2. My kind hearted colleague, jolly good guy with a nasty wife. She appreciates nothing n physically bullies him even in front of visitors. Dear colleague earns well but has to submit his monthly salary to Mrs. Who is a housewife dat has never worked in her life. She wears H&C, TM shirt while Mr nice guy looks scruffy to work. Its so bad dat he borrows money at work to eat lunch despite his fat take home pay. Na jazz abi wetin?????

  20. bn

    March 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

    I do not know whether it falls in any of your category, but i considered that i was in a financially abused relationship until about recently that i had to call it quit. I have been dating this above normal IQ intelligent, playing traditional and macho man.

    The guy has a job but has been relying on me to assist him financially from time to time and i obliged.
    Recently, i did decide to stop assisting him financially because i had just woke up to realise that i was in a loveless and abused relationship. I just said ” wait a minute, what are you doing with a man who insult you whenever he feels like it, making love to you as if you were a prostitute, constantly using you as his ATM, making you feel ugly and undeserving…”

    Nooooo, this has to stop!

    The guy asked me whether i could apply for a huge loan for him and i said “Hell NO”, whether i could share my savings with him and i said “Hell NO”, another financial father and i said “NO”. If you had heard the insult i received from the gigolo, you would not believe and i did not believe it myself! He stopped calling me and i thought “good riddance ungrateful”! This relationship is over and i don’t know how i got myself involved with such a bastard of a man, assisting financially for what? I will never allow that to happen to me again, let a man treat me that bad.

  21. zeebaby

    March 31, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Pele, my dear. Don’t feel so bad. It happens to the best of us. At least, u realised n walked away. Imagine if you were married to Mr gigolo? I once had a bf like that. We lived in two different states. He sure knew how to play on my sympathy and get money from me. He even asked me to It wasn’t until I paid him a visit dat I realised he was squatting wit his friend who was married with 3 kids. He neva told me. And he will come to Abj n be forming Britico trained big boy. This guy had a car n driver n was squatting. Talk of misplaced priorities.

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