9 min read

Ife Adewole

Domestic violence involving husbands and wives has almost become a norm in our society; hardly will a day pass without a report of an assault or the other among those who have once made a commitment to each other.

Marriage is sacred; it is an institution, a lifelong commitment commanded by God, yet, it is not a death sentence as some people think. The two major religions in Nigeria (Islam and Christianity) believe in the sanctity of marriage; even at that, adultery, unreasonable conduct, abandonment which both religions preaches against are rampant in the society.

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On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, the decomposed body of Inedukoba Charles Tyger was found under the bridge in Abalama Sandfield, Asari-Toru Local Government Area in River State, where it was buried in a shallow grave by his wife, Ajemina Douglas.

Tyger’s decomposed body

A friend of the deceased, Ibiye Dokubo had raised alarm on Friday, February 26th via his Facebook page declaring Tyger missing. After thorough investigation by the River State Police Command, it was discovered that Tyger’s wife had refused to pick her calls and has been hiding since the day her husband was declared missing.

After her arrest, she confessed that she killed her husband and buried him in a shallow grave because he impregnated another lady. She later led the police team to the place she buried him before his remains were exhumed.

Recently, a wife in a 6 months old marriage, Fatima Musa Hamza was reported to have stabbed her husband; Sa’eed Hussein in Kano during a fight.

The husband, still recuperating at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital debunked the story that he serially molested his wife, adding that his wife attacked him because he accused her of infidelity.

Hussein claims that the CCTV footage of the incident is available for anyone who will like to conduct proper investigation on the incident.

In the same vein, another newly wedded wife was said to have injected her husband with rat poison in Jos, Plateau State. The wife was said to have followed the advice of her friends who promised to link her with wealthy and influential men in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Also, a 31-year-old man, Godspower Johnson was arraigned before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Friday, May 10, 2019 for allegedly beating his wife, Deborah to death during a fight over sex.

Similarly, a 41 year-old man, Sunday Ngwu had beaten his wife, Amara to death over a marital issue on Sunday, June 9 2019 in Idemili North Local Government of Enugu State.

However, instead of embarking on domestic violence which may lead to the death of your spouse, why do you not consider a divorce? Filing a divorce petition will save you the agony of living the rest of your life in prison, save you from the stigma of an ex-convict if the culprit narrowly escapes a death sentence. Having in mind that a broken heart can still be mended.

According to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which recognizes two types of marriage, Statutory and Customary marriage; statutory marriage is contracted in a customary court while a customary marriage is contracted under traditional laws and customs of the bride’s paternal family.

Your type of marriage will determine the appropriate court to file your divorce petition and the type of lawyer to hire.

There are eight (8) grounds on which a divorce or marriage dissolution can take place “The matrimonial cause’s act Chapter 202 section 15 to 16 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1970 governs this act.

However, it excludes couples whose marriage is less than 2 years, this is in accordance with section 30 (1) of the matrimonial causes act which states that “subject to this section proceedings for a decree of dissolution of marriage shall not be instituted within two years after the date of the marriage except by leave of court”.

They are:

  • No Sex, i.e no consummation of marriage,
  • Adultery (extra marital affair, sex out of wedlock),
  • Unreasonable conduct (rape, bestiality, Sodomy, unusual drunk, in prison, attempted murder of spouse or intent to or actual bodily harm that causes injury),
  • Abandonment (should be at least a year prior to the filing of divorce petition),
  • Separation (living apart for a continued period of 2 years prior to the filing of divorce petition and no objection from the absentee spouse),
  • Separation (living apart for a continued period of 3 years prior to the filing of divorce petition),
  • Failure to comply with a court order regarding marriage or sexual rights, privilege of a marriage,
  • Death/reason to believe spouse is dead.

A divorce petition is to be filed by the party in the marriage seeking for its dissolution. The court upon receiving this petition, will ascertain if the marriage meets the necessary requirements for a divorce by using the above mentioned criteria as a yard stick to verify the situation and determine that the party can no longer stand or tolerate the behavior of the respondent (the spouse) and has committed one or more of any of the above mentioned acts

Once the court has determined this, the petitioner is then granted the right to divorce the respondent. Other things such as settlement and child custody will then be sorted out.

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