A woman, Ola Lawal, has approached Grade A Customary Court, Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State, seeking that it put an end to the 13-year-old wedlock between her and her husband, Saheed Lawal, on the grounds of irresponsibility, violence and constant threat to life.
Ola in her divorce suit stated that her husband took to maltreating her immediately she moved in with him.
The plaintiff explained that the defendant made no contribution towards their children’s welfare and that he always indulged himself in excessive drinking.
According to Ola, Saheed always demanded for sex when he was drunk and would physically abuse her.
Ola stated that they have lived in eight different houses in the 13 years of their marriage because her husband never ceased to be a nuisance.
She further explained that Saheed became a common face in her shop after she moved out of his house and that he would always embarrass her by threatening, fighting and beating her.
Ola, therefore, appealed to the court to dissolve their union and grant her custody of their children.
She further prayed the court to make her husband fully responsible for their upkeep, making their feeding, education and medical needs priority.
Saheed pleaded not liable to the charges brought against him and pleaded with the court not to dissolve their marriage.
Ola said in her evidence, “My lord, I regret ever accepting my husband’s marriage proposal because he has almost marred my life.”
“I moved into his house after he proposed to me. We never had a formal introduction nor held a wedding ceremony.”
“The truth dawned on me that I was in for a tough time when he started returning home late and drunk, a few weeks after we started living together.”
“I thought he would change when we started having children, but to my chagrin he became worse.”
“Saheed neglected his responsibilities towards me and our children. He made us suffer in poverty.”
“Our children looked underfed and malnourished while they wore tattered clothes.”
“He was also indifferent to their education. I enrolled every one of them in school and have been paying their fees.”
“All that my husband spent his income on was alcohol. Saheed’s day was made any time he drank himself to stupour.”
“He would always portray himself a nuisance after returning home late in the night. Saheed would wake everyone in our compound up with his noise and turn the whole place upside down.”
“My husband never spared me when he was drunk. He would always find excuse to beat and harm me.”
“Saheed loved to have sex when he was drunk which I found repulsive. Filled with indignation for refusing him sex, he would beat me without mercy.”
“We lived in eight houses in the 13 years we both lived together because he was always a thorn in the flesh of our neighbours who couldn’t tolerate his drinking habit.”
“I moved out of my husband’s house after he succeeded in frustrating me.”
“I left with all our children because it was obvious he didn’t have their interest in mind.”
“My husband now comes to my shop to humiliate me.”
“He would call me names, beat, and destroy my goods.”
“I reported him at the police station and he was made to write an undertaking to be of good behaviour but he refused to abide by this.”
“He now calls me on the phone, abuse and rain curses on me.”
“My lord, I pray that you dissolve our marriage and put our children in my care.”
“I further entreat this honourable court to make him to be up to his responsibilities towards our children by giving them feeding allowance on regular basis and paying their school fees as and when due.”
“I also request that the court restrain him from coming to my house and shop to insult, threaten, beat me and destroy my wares,” the plaintiff pleaded.
Saheed in his evidence said: “My lord, it is true that my wife and I never held the normal traditional wedding rite but I met with her parents.”
“All that Ola said was to blackmail me.”
“I have been pleading with her not to leave me, but she has remained unbending.”
“I am a changed man. I have stopped drinking and also swore never to beat her again,” he said.
Giving her judgment, the court president, Mrs S.M Akintayo stated that there was no marriage to be dissolved because no customary marriage held between them and no dowry was paid.
Akintayo, making reference to the defendant’s testimony, stated that it was obvious he was not emotionally attached to their children.
She further observed that he didn’t deny he was a drunk and brute and as such would be a bad example to their children.
According to her, this attitude might lead to delinquency in them.
Akintayo added that his violent nature could affect their children emotionally and psychologically.
The children would fare better in their mother’s custody, she held.
Ruling, she granted the plaintiff custody of their children and ruled that the defendant pay N15,000 per month for food.
The plaintiff was ordered to grant the defendant free access to their children.
She restrained the defendant from going to the plaintiff’s house or shop to harass, fight or destroy her goods.
@ Nigerian Tribune