A middle-aged man, Theophilius Obayan, has dragged his wife, Chibuzor Lillian Obayan, before a Customary Court sitting in Oke-Eda, Akure, seeking the dissolution of his 23-year-old marriage, over attempt to change the paternity of his four children.
Obayan alleged that his estranged wife deliberately changed his children’s name to her new husband’s name, and urged the court to dissolve the 23-year-old marriage with Chibuzor.
Obayan told the court that his marriage “from onset was characterised by crises, abuse, disobedience, misunderstanding, lies, manipulation, hate and rage.”
He said: “I married Lilian in the year 2000 and we have four children. I am Yoruba, while my wife is Igbo. I have suffered a lot in the hands of her family because they don’t love me, but I’ve been enduring.
“Lilian packed her belongings out of my house to another man’s house in 2019 and went to change her name, including my children’s surname to the name of the Igbo man she’s engaged to.”
He said that he never had access to any of his children after his wife moved out of his house and therefore asked the court to dissolve the marriage and grant him the custody of his children and revert to his name as their surname.
In her defence, Lilian told the court that her former husband, Obayan was “grossly irresponsible” She said: “My lord, life was not easy for me over the years we have been together.
“In fact, Obayan derived pleasure in always molesting and beating me to the extent that I got fractures. Obayan is not a good husband to me and a good father to his children, as he doesn’t pay their school fees nor care about how they are living.
“He didn’t pay my dowry. So, I finally found a man to marry me and my new love wants my children to bear his name instead of that of their irresponsible father.
“Our children are old enough to choose for themselves as they are no more babies. My first two girls, Mayomi and Damilola are 22 and 20 years old respectively, while the boys, Ariyo and Aduragbemi are 18 and 16 years old respectively.”
Lilian added that she was in court with witnesses to establish whether or not there was a traditional marriage between her and the petitioner, urging the court to dissolve the union since Obayan did not pay her dowry.
In his ruling, president of the court, Mr Olusegun Rotiba, urged the parties to allow peace to reign between them and adjourned the matter till September 28, 2023, for continuation and adoption of oral addresses or probably judgment.