By Edith Igbokwe
A Customary Court in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area (LGA) has dissolved the 11 year-old marriage between Mrs. Constance Anenechukwu and Mr. Caleb Anenechukwu and ordered the man to foot the school, accommodation and other basic bills of the children.
Constance, the petitioner, filed for divorce on August 8, 2019 against the respondent, Caleb to dissolve the marriage contracted under the native law in 2008, which has produced three children – Nkechi, Kosiso and Munachi Anenechukwu.
The petitioner accused the respondent of lack of care and communications, adultery and irresponsibility as a father towards the family.
According to her: “The problem started when he lost his job and I encouraged him to start his own business which I supported financially and when the business got a little stability, he started keeping late nights and became absent from home. He would assault me even when I was carrying the pregnancy of my last child- Munachi, which took the intervention of the police and the landlady to save my life which resulted to our eviction from the house.
“He later abandoned me with the girls (Nkechi, Kosiso) and told me to abort the pregnancy I was carrying, stating that he was no longer interested in the union, but I refused to abort the pregnancy and he became absentee father in the life of the child since birth.
“In 2014, he took the two girls for Christmas holidays and since then he denied me the access to see them till after four years. I tried reaching Nkechi through the boarding school she was enrolled but the school gave another woman details as her mother, thereby denying me access and I later found out that the woman was his second wife who happened to be the former bank account officer where he had worked.
“I reported to the Human Rights Office and I was advised to seek justice in the court of law to gain access to my children to be able to cater for them as a mother as I have been single handedly raising Munachi.”
She therefore pleaded for immediate dissolution of the marriage since the respondent has contracted another marriage, saying she has no choice but to formerly end the relationship and be in the custody of the children.
Although he denied all grounds for the divorce presented by the petition, Mr. Anenechukwu.agreed that the marriage be dissolved, stating that as far as he was concerned, the marriage had ended long time ago when he saw that they were no longer compatible.
Dissolving the marriage, the presiding magistrate, Mrs. Adebisi Laditan ruled that the children should be in the custody of their mother being minors until they mature and ordered the respondent to bring Nkechi and Kosiso to the court on August 22, 2019.
The court also ruled that the respondent shall have the visiting right to the children while the children shall share their holidays between the two parties.
Other orders of the court mandated the respondent to pay the children’s school fees, N50, 000 monthly through the court for the children’s upkeep and maintenance effective from 1st September 2019 and for the children accommodation and daily needs.