By evangelist.com.ng edition, Saturday September 7, 2023. Admin.
The Akwa Ibom State High Court, located in Uyo, the capital city, has officially dissolved a 17-year-old marriage between a former banker, aged 48, and his wife, a housewife aged 43.
Presided over by Justice Ntong Ntong, the court granted the mother primary custody of their two daughters as part of the dissolution ruling, which was delivered on Friday.
The husband had filed a petition seeking the dissolution of the marriage, citing a lack of love and an irreparable breakdown in the relationship.
In his judgement, Justice Ntong expressed regret that “the parties have forgotten their initial love and have chosen to publicly engage in a dispute.”
He stated, “No one can force a cow to drink from the river, and it is impossible to impose a willing wife on an unwilling husband, and vice versa. Marriage is a contract founded on mutual interest and love. When love fades away, the marriage will be terminated and dissolved by this Honorable Court,” Justice Ntong concluded.
Regarding the property located in Eniong Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo, the Court ruled that “since there is an unbreakable blood bond between the petitioner and his daughters, it is in the best interest of the children to remain and be supported in their father’s home.”
Justice Ntong recognized the respondent’s testimony and evidence, including receipts for building materials she had purchased for the development of the house where she currently resides with her children. He deemed it unfair to separate the children from their home along with the dissolution of the marriage.
He added, “It is a challenging task for a wife to bear and deliver children for her husband, as the birthing process hangs between life and death,” and further expressed, “If women endure the pain of labor, society should compensate them with genuine love and nothing less.”
The Court ruled, “Since the respondent played a significant role in developing the family property, she shall retain ownership of the property at Eniong Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo for herself and hold it in trust for her two daughters, who should not suffer unduly from their parents’ separation.”
Regarding custody, the Court believed that the mother would better understand the needs of her daughters, especially during puberty and menstruation. Thus, it was deemed sensible to grant the mother primary custody while allowing the father reasonable visitation rights. However, the father must provide written notice to the mother at least 48 hours in advance of any planned visit.
The Court also mandated that both parties sign a written undertaking, accompanied by their current passport photographs, pledging good behavior, peaceful coexistence, and the avoidance of violence.
The judge further ordered “both parties to follow the natural course of events and prioritize the general welfare of the children.”
“Consequently, the marriage solemnized on August 5, 2006, at Akoko North West Local Government Marriage Registry in Ondo State, under the Matrimonial Cause Act, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, is hereby dissolved. This represents the judgement of this honorable court. I affirm,” concluded Justice Ntong.