Court Dissolves 18-Year Old Marriage Over Inability To Pay Bride Price

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The 18-year old marriage between Mrs. Ramat Abideen and her husband, Yusuf, has collapsed over the husband’s inability to pay her bride price and alleged battering in Oyo State.

The mother of five, Ramat Abideen, has filed a suit before Mapo Grade A Customary Court in Ibadan seeking for dissolution of the marriage to her estranged husband, Yusuf, on grounds of constant battering.

An embittered Mrs. Ramat told the Court that she had endured pain and humiliation since she moved in with Yusuf in spite of his failure to pay her bride price.

“When my elder brother, who is a friend to Yusuf, got to know about his proposal to get married to me, he opposed it but I insisted on getting married to him.”

“I turned down my brother’s advice because Yusuf swore on the holy Quran to take good care of me. Firstly, he took the sum of N83,000 that I saved for the purpose of buying a piece of land from me. Furthermore, he beats the hell out of me at the slightest provocation even when he got a second wife.”

“At some point, he left Ibadan to work in Igboora, I followed him and he never stopped assaulting me.

Besides the untold domestic violence against me, Yusuf has refused to join me in catering for one of our children and the only son, who is physically challenged,” Ramat said.

However, the estranged husband, Yusuf, refused to enter appearance in the matter despite the fact that he was summoned before the Court for response on the allegations against him.

Delivering judgment, the Court’s President, S.M. Akintayo, held that there was no marriage to be dissolved between Ramat and Yusuf since there was never a contractual marriage in the first place.

She said that since Yusuf did not pay any bride price, an essential element in a customary marriage, there was no marriage to dissolve.

Mrs. Akintayo, however, awarded custody of the five children produced by the couple to the petitioner and directed Ramat not to deny Yusuf access to the children.

She also granted an order restraining Yusuf from threatening, harassing and interfering in the private life of the petitioner.

The Court’s President further held that both Ramat and Yusuf should be jointly responsible for sponsorship of the children’s education and their welfare.